Affiliation: College of Medicine University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Background: Pediatric health care providers are in an ideal position to recognize and respond to early symptoms of child mental health disorders. However, pediatric services in Nigeria have little or no mental health component. In order to promote Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) programs attempts must first be made to determine the views of providers regarding the need for CAMH training. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in Lagos, Nigeria. Health care providers involved in the care of children in government and private institutions were surveyed using a 21 item questionnaire. Standard descriptive statistics were employed in analysis of the data. Results: One hundred and thirty three surveys were completed, for a response rate of 88.6%. Respondents included nurses (26.5%) and doctors (73.4%), in the following specialties: pediatrics (62.4%), family medicine (18.0%), psychiatry (9.8%) pediatric surgery (9.0%), and dentistry (0.8%). 98.4% treat children and adolescents and 58.9% of the entire sample reported feeling incompetent in CAMH issues. 90.9% felt CAMH training was necessary for health care providers involved in the care of children and 94.7% of participants expressed interest in CAMH workshops/training programs. Conclusions: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study of this nature within a region in Nigeria to explore CAMH needs of health care providers who work with children and it reveals a significant need for increased CAMH training and willingness of providers to participate in CAMH training initiatives.