Prof. Bamidele Owoyele, the President, the Ilorin Neuroscience Group (ING) says one out of every four Nigerians suffer one form of mental disorder or the other.
Owoyele, a Professor of Physiology at the University of Ilorin, said this at the maiden Global Engagement and Advocacy Programme on Monday.
The event was organised by ING in conjunction with the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO) at the University of Ilorin.
According to him, the upsurge in the incidence of mental disorder in the country is being aided by substance abuse and increase in the burden of neurological diseases.
The don appealed to government at all levels to make more budgetary provision for the health sector, saying that the two per cent allocation often set aside for the health sector was too small for the health need of the country.
Owoyele also called on philanthropists in the country to emulate their counterparts in advanced world by assisting in the funding of research, which would generate efficacious solutions to brain-related diseases.
The ING President also implored concerned authorities to engage in more public enlightenment programmes to educate members of the public on research participation.
He said such efforts would help in the early detection of some neurological disorders and discovery of therapeutic interventions.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, commended the ING for its initiative.
Abdulkareem, represented by the Acting Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Prof. Lawrence Olatunji, urged each Faculty in the institution to come up with Inter-Departmental and Inter-Faculties groups that could stand the test of time.
He also expressed the hope that the ING and other anticipated groups would step up the game in such a way that they would attract international support that would not only improve the visibility of members, but also improve image of the university the more.
Abdulkareem similarly expressed his conviction that the group would be more intellectually and professionally empowered to publish its own journal, which according to him will be of international standard and also stand the test of time.
Prof. Kolawole Wahab, the Director of the Centre for Research Development and In- House Training of the university in his paper presentation entitled: “Burden of Neurological Disease and National Development”, stressed the role of public and private organisations in funding Neuroscience research in Nigeria.
Wahab advised that the long lasting solution to problems faced in the practice of Neuroscience in the country was to continue with advocacy from both government agencies and private organisations.
He advised on the need to explore external sources of funding, write fundable proposals, put adequate mentoring in place and sought for collaborations to create an enviable impact.
“We cannot solve problems by using the kind of thinking we used when we created them,” he said.
Wahab, also a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Neurologist identified poor funding as part of the problems pulling the country back in health researches.
He listed other problems to include inadequate curricula to prepare students to pick Neuroscience as a course of study, lack of research infrastructure, inadequate career development programmes and poor number of neuroscientist on the African continent.