The Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) has urged government at all levels to move the country out of economic recession with a view to curtail incidences of depression and suicide.

The Chairman of the society in the FCT, Dr Nicholas Baamlong, made the call in an interview with the Nigerian Pilot on Thursday ahead of the World Family Doctor Day with the theme, ”Curbing Depression”.

Nigerian Pilot reports that the World Family Doctors Day which is observed every May 19 was first declared by the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010.

The day was meant to highlight the role and contributions of family doctors to health system all over the world.

It was also to acknowledge the central role of doctor’s expertise in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for all patients.

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Nigerian Pilot also reports that the day is an opportunity to celebrate the progress being made on family medicine and the special contributions of family doctors all over the world.

The day is also specifically to highlight important issues relating to family doctors and efforts in providing health care for people around the world.

Baamlong described the theme of 2017 as “apt”, considering the rising incidences of depression all over the world.

He expressed concern over the rising rate of depression in the country leading to suicide attempts among the populace, attributing the incident to factors such as economic recession and unemployment.

The chairman said the standard of living of many families had been reduced drastically, adding that majority of the populace are finding it difficult to feed after losing their means of livelihood.

He pointed out that there is an army of the unemployed youths, who graduated from schools for nearly three to six years or more roaming the streets and at the end suffer depression that can cause them to attempt suicide.

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Baamlong said, ”The theme was carefully selected because of rising cases of depression due to increased rate of unemployment, economic recession, divorce, loss of loved ones and aging among others.

“Cases of suicide attempt are on the increase and this is not unrelated to the current economic situation.

“The government should as a matter of priority try to address the issue of the economy recession, so that people can get jobs and get paid for their services.

“It is when the economy thrives that the private sectors, who are currently laying off staff, will have the financial capacity to retain or employ more people, thereby reducing unemployment in the country,” he said.

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The chairman identified other risk factors of depression as loneliness or isolation, bereavement, illicit drugs, drug addiction and human trafficking among others.

Baamlong identified the role of the physicians to include sensitising the public to the health implications of factors associated with depression and adequate solutions to such challenges.

According to him, the day is geared toward highlighting the prevalence of depression, causes and prevention in order to reduce the incidence to the barest minimum.

He further noted that such efforts would definitely assist in reducing or curtailing suicide attempts in the society.

NAN reports that a family doctor is a specialist in comprehensive health care.

Family physician is to diagnosis and treat chronic illnesses; the physician provides routine screening and counselling on lifestyle changes in an effort to prevent illnesses.