Treatment from Behavioural Health Providers Limits Risk of Major Health Challenges, Says Expert
People can reduce their risk of developing major medical problems and reduce their health care cost when they seek treatment from an interdisciplinary team including behavioural health providers, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Charles Umeh, has said.
Dr. Umeh, a lecturer at the College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, made the submission on Thursday, June 17, 2021, as a Guest Speaker at the first Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Psychology, Covenant University in the Omega Semester.
The Guest Speaker stated that advances in psychological, medical, and physiological research led to a new way of thinking about health and illness. He said this is reflected in the biopsychosocial model that viewed health and illness as the product of a combination of factors, including biological characteristics. For example, he cited genetic predisposition behavioural factors such as lifestyle, stress, health beliefs, and social conditions, including cultural influences, family relationships, and social support.
Dr. Umeh asserted that being healthy also meant being mentally and emotionally fit. However, according to him, physical fitness was not the sole basis of being healthy, as all individuals were saddled with the responsibility of being healthy. Being healthy, he added, should be part of everyone's overall lifestyle.
He advised that living a healthy lifestyle could help prevent chronic diseases, mental disorders and long-term illnesses. "Feeling good about oneself and taking care of one's health is important for one's self-esteem and self-image," he noted.
However, the Guest Speaker pointed out that maintaining a healthy lifestyle would not happen by chance as so many factors were responsible for a healthy lifestyle, including a good healthcare delivery system. He stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
"Healthcare, in essence, exists to help people maintain this optimal state of health and a healthcare delivery system is, therefore, an organization of people, institutions, and resources to deliver healthcare services to meet the health needs of a target population," said Dr. Umeh.
He posited that the provision of health care in Nigeria remained the function of the three tiers of government: the Federal, State, and Local Government, while the Primary Healthcare System was managed by the 774 Local Government Areas, with support from their respective state Ministry of Health as well as private medical practitioners.
He stated that the Ministry of Health managed the Secondary Healthcare System at the state level. "Patients at this level are often referred from the primary healthcare, while Teaching Hospitals and Specialist Hospitals provide the Tertiary healthcare. At this level, the federal government also works with voluntary and non-governmental organizations and private practitioners," Dr. Umeh explained.
He noted that there were major flaws in the Nigerian healthcare system that had deeply undermined the system's functionality and left many gaps. The Guest Speaker said health facilities that constituted health centres, personnel, and medical equipment were inadequate, especially in the rural areas.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Head, Department of Psychology, Dr. Sussan Adeusi, thanked the Guest Speaker for honouring the invitation to the day's lecture. Furthermore, she appreciated the University Management for instituting such a great platform to enable impactful interactions between the professional world and the students.
Dr. Adeusi encouraged the students to leverage the great opportunity the lecture presented to improve their knowledge base and prepare for the world of work.