On Thursday, 17th May 2023, the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI), Professor Olayinka Omigbodun FAS, delivered a public lecture in Abuja at the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS’) Induction of Fellows and Public Lecture.
In her thought-provoking address, the Provost shed light on the critical link between mental health and the socio-economic development of nations. She emphasized that Nigeria's lack of attention to mental health issues has been inhibiting the growth and progress of the nation's economy. Under the title, "Great Nations Pay Heed to Nurturing the Mental Health of the Developing Brain", Professor Omigbodun eloquently expressed that countries with high per capita income, improved living standards, low poverty rates, and overall well-being have recognized the importance of prioritizing mental health. She emphasized that neglecting mental health has far-reaching consequences and hampers a nation's social and economic advancement.
Drawing attention to the impact on human capital development, Professor Omigbodun highlighted that any country lacking in the development of its people's mental health will ultimately fall behind in overall economic progress. Recognizing the significant role mental health plays in shaping societies, she called for urgent attention and concerted efforts to address mental health challenges in Nigeria.
President of NAS, Professor Braide Ekanem, supported Professor Omigbodun's call, stressing that discussing mental health issues at this juncture of Nigeria's development is both timely and necessary. The recognition of mental health as a crucial component of national progress opens the doors to transformative policies and interventions that can positively shape the future of the country.
In addition to the induction of ten distinguished scientists as Fellows by NAS, the event served as a platform to raise awareness about mental health and its vital role in national development. The newly inducted Fellows, renowned experts in their respective fields, represent a diverse range of disciplines, including avian medicine, chemical engineering, oral and maxillofacial surgery, entomology and pest management, public health, and community medicine, pharmacognosy, environmental microbiology and bioremediation, and paediatric dentistry.
The event's success underscored the collective commitment of academia, scientific institutions, and experts in addressing the pressing issue of mental health in Nigeria. It served as a rallying call for policymakers, stakeholders, and the wider society to prioritize mental health, recognizing its significance as a catalyst for holistic and sustainable national development.