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BFT Update from Nigeria

The painting was a gift from Nosa and colleagues and was painted by Nkechi's husband

The Meriden Family Programme welcomed Nosa Igbinomwanhia to the office on 25th July.  Nosa, pictured here, came to the UK in 2014 through the Commonwealth Fellowship Scheme from Benin, Nigeria with three colleagues. After completing a number of training courses with Meriden, Nosa returned to Nigeria and along with his other colleagues, Nkechi Igbinigie, Blessing Uteh and Felicia Thomas was able to successfully implement family work (BFT) in the hospital in Benin.

Nosa and colleagues were able to overcome challenges and create a BFT clinic in the Federal NeuroPsychiatric Hospital, Benin. Nosa reported that people pay out-of-pocket for their care and treatment in Nigeria, and because of this psychological interventions are seen as less acceptable, as something tangible such as medication is more likely to be perceived as value for money.  Also, because family work had not been previously available, it was more difficult to ‘sell’ family work to families as it had not been tried and tested in Nigeria.

Nosa and colleagues had to be creative in order to get family work started and with the support of management, they were able to offer family work to the first few families at a significantly reduced cost. Once the benefits of family work had been evidenced in the hospital, family work was offered more routinely. More clinicians were trained in the hospital and the benefits of family work have become more widely accepted.

The Nigerian team is hopeful that as funding becomes more available, such as from hospital/government and possibly other sources like drug companies family work can be made more accessible to families at little cost to them.

We will be writing about the implementation of family work in Uganda and Nigeria in more detail in the future.