The Behavioural Health Foundation of Nigeria (BHFN), an NGO,
has decried an increase in memory loss (amnesia) by elderly people from the age of 50 years and above in Kebbi.
Dr Bioku Ayodeji-Abas, the Founder of the NGO and Psychiatric Consultant at Federal Medical Centre (FMC),
Birnin Kebbi, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that amnesia is the inability to remember events for a period of time,
often due to brain injury, illness or the effect of drugs or alcohol.
Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and the inability to recognise familiar faces or places.
Ayodeji-Abas said “we discovered lately that many people are coming with memory loss problem at the age of 50 years
and above and the trend is increasing.
“The problem is increasing to the extent that the patients, who are our fathers and mothers, urinate and defecate
without control, and they don’t know what they are doing and some cannot even remember the names of their children.
“Imagine how some of these people who contributed their quota to the development of the society are now left helpless.
“This is the time to take care of them as there are many ways to prevent or manage the situation, if proper care is given to
The NGO founder said that the organisation had been taking care of elderly people with the problem of memory loss, adding that its members had visited communities to screen patients to identify the gravity of their cases.
“The aim is to know whether they have amnesia or dementia and to provide some little help in terms of giving them drugs,
at least to stop the memory loss from progressing.”
He said “dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication and thinking.
“A person with dementia may show symptoms like: asking the same question repeatedly, difficulty with language, forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones or forgetting the location of everyday items such as keys or wallets.
“While some symptoms could be noticed by the patients, others may only be noticed by caregivers or healthcare workers.”
Ayodeji-Abas noted that the NGO was established in 2019 with the hope of achieving optimum mental health for people through community based scientific approach, among others.
He added that “the issue of mental health is so primitive that people don’t know that mental health is manageable.
“People view it as spiritual attack and they go to other places to seek help and by the time they come here, the illness has degenerated to something that cannot be managed. We want to correct that notion; we want people to know that it is manageable.”
Explaining that global treatment of mental health was community-based, the group founder noted that treatment was better if people were
treated close to their homes.
He commended the collaboration of state governments and called on well-meaning individuals to assist the NGO to promote mental healthcare delivery in the state. (NAN).