The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to decriminalise suicide in the country.
The Deputy Chairman, Kwara NMA, Prof. Baba Issa, made the appeal at a news conference on Monday in Ilorin.
He said that anyone who attempted suicide obviously needed help, which was not gotten.
Issa was speaking in commemoration of the 2019 Physician’s week holding from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Care of the Unknown Patient: Policy Overview and Review”.
The event has other sub-themes like: “Curbing the Increasing Trend of Suicide in Nigeria: The Role of the NMA’’ and “The Doctor as an Entrepreneur”.
Issa noted that suicide was now the second leading cause of death among those in the age bracket of between 15 and 29 years with many unreported cases.
“And too bad, people are being jailed in Nigeria for attempting suicide.
“Any person who attempted suicide in the first place needed urgent help and would probably not have resulted to suicide if help was gotten.
“Also, government should regulate the distribution and availability of organophosphate chemicals that have recently become a cheap means of committing suicide,” Issa said.
He however said that parents and the media also have roles to play in curbing the increased trend.
“Responsible reportage of suicide is important to avoid copycat suicide as media should avoid sensationalising cases of suicide.
“The media should avoid details of methods and location and emphasising the negative consequences and impact on people left behind.
“And for the parents, they should avoid stigmatisation of suicide, instead encourage people to always seek help and support.
“Let us sacrifice time to know more about our children and wards, and learn to know their strength and weaknesses.
“We should also teach them self esteem and vocation, and always take helpful cues from their non-verbal communication,” Issa said.
He further said that a person contemplating suicide should never be left alone at any point in time as the next few seconds without help might be too late.
Issa said there were organisations that help persons contemplating suicide with the following help lines: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909, 07013811143, and Hausa – 08142241007.
Issa also listed Kwara State Health line challenges as 07062961307, 07030659980, 08033559293, 08035307683, 08165353198, 07032589606, 08034340230 and 08037211707.
The NMA deputy chairman said that other activities to mark the week were scientific sessions on Oct. 15, Visit to Olomu of Omu-Aran on Oct. 16, Breast cancer screening on Oct. 17, Jumaat Service on Oct. 18 and Young Doctors’ Engagement on Oct. 19.
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