The Osun state government O’Rehab programme has shared her success story of over 160 former psychotic members of the society who have now been fully treated, cured and rehabilitated by the state government.
Under the program which started in November 2011, several men and women, including some who have been on the streets for as long has thirty years have been cured, equipped with vocational skills/ crafts for economic empowerment and reconnected with their families and reintegrated with the society. So far, the scheme has recorded less than 2% relapse cases.
Under the scheme, affected persons are treated at one of the five hospitals; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology teaching hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University teaching hospital, Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, Aro Psychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta and Government Hospital, Asubiaro, depending on the nature of the psychiatric disorder .
The scheme started under the supervision of Comrade Biyi Odunlade as a project under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Special. Although the Aregbesola-led govt is solely responsible for funding the project, Odunlade’s team works with a special psychotic treatment foundation – Care and Foundation for Mentally Ill Persons (Caremi foundation), founded by Professor Rogers Makanjuola.
According to Odunlade, some of the destitute are repatriated mainly from Lagos and other states as 90 per cent of psychotic patients treated under the scheme were dumped in the state or they trekked down from other states.
Odunlade, the supervisor shares the four-point method adopted as: the four Rs of retrieval, rehabilitation, repatriation and re-integration.
An example is Afolashade* (not real name) a young woman who the governor of the Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola saw on the streets last Christmas eve, on his way from the Iwude festival in Ilesa. She had suffered amental disorder and a broken leg and had been roaming the streets at Isona community. He instructed that she be taken her off the streets that night and given proper care. Today, she has regained her senses.
Odunlade, however, stressed that most mentally imbalanced people are merely suffering from a form of trauma and most times only require love, attention and counseling with medication and supervision, adding that chaining them or beating them as is done in traditional healing homes will only aggravate their situation.
The care doesn’t come cheap to the Osun government. According to Odunlade, to treat an average person costs between N250, 000 to N300, 000 and can be more. “If the government uses this to treat one person, you can multiply it by how many people we have treated to know how much has been pumped into this setup over time and no hospital admits any psychotic patient without down payment or discharges them without full payment”, he said.