PanAfrican Capital Foundation promotes mental health agenda

In recognition of the 2021 World Mental Health Day, PanAfrican Capital Foundation, the CSR arm of PanAfrican Capital Holdings, organised a Mental Health webinar tagged“The Pandemic, Medical Practitioners & Mental Health”.

The objective of the virtual event which was held on Thursday, October 14 via the Group’s Zoom platform, was to give insight into how the pandemic has advanced the mental health narrative and agenda for medical practitioners, the health industry and wider society.

Welcoming participants to the event during the opening remark, Omolola Ojo, Executive Secretary, PAC Foundation said: “We want to raise the profile of mental health and how it affects people, from the medical practitioners who attend to others, the health sector and society during the pandemic. Through our partnership with BetterHelp – the world’s largest online portal that provides direct-to-consumer access to mental health services, we have made provision for a one-month free consultation for all those in our community and society at large. As reflected in our strategic focus areas HEEE (Health, Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment), PAC Foundation is committed to investing in social good for impact in our community and society at large. As such, the PAC Foundation Mental Health webinar is another opportunity to inspire us all to make changes for better mental health. No matter how big or small, our efforts will ensure that everyone has the tools they need to manage their mental health and make positive strides in this area.”

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The webinar was headlined by seasoned medical practitioners including Abimbola Bowale, Medical Director, Mainland Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and Lagos COVID-19 Isolation Centre, Yaba, Lagos; Dr Yewande Oshodi, Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Senior Lecturer, College of Medicine University of Lagos and Dr Debo Odulana, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Doctoora E-Health.

Abimbola Bowale while speaking about ‘The stress of the Pandemic on our Healthcare System’ stated that Healthcare workers (HCWs) play pivotal roles in outbreak responses. He said, “The Ebola outbreak that occurred in 2014 equipped Lagos State to better manage the pandemic despite how unprecedented it was. Not that it didn’t come with its own challenges.”

He explained that the medical practitioners in the state had to deal with patients’ reactions, families concerns and ensure that they are not a risk to themselves and their families.

Yewande Oshodi addressed ‘Mental Health among Medical Practitioners in the face of pandemic’. She explained that frontline workers shoulder a lot of feelings and anxiety despite being caregivers.

According to Yewande, “We lost some of our colleagues to the fight against the pandemic. The loss, anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, stress and emotional trauma that comes with handling such responsibility require that we all take out time to address the state of our mental health.”

Speaking on ‘Bridging the Gap: Pandemic and E-Health Infrastructure’, Debo Odulana, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Doctoora E-Health said “People are yet to take advantage of technology in bridging the gaps that exist within our health system despite the availability of free digital platforms. Patient Education and being patient with the education we are giving is paramount to streamline the kind of care patients get and how efficient we serve them.”

Following a Q&A session, Timothy Akinmulere, CEO of Equitable Health Access Initiative, finally thanked the panellist for the informative session that brought to light the struggles which exist within the health system and solutions that can be explored to ensure that issues surrounding mental health are better addressed.