Rights groups seek mental evaluation of Lagos mother who killed own baby

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Human rights groups have appealed to the Attorney-General of Lagos State,  Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), to compel one Miss Funmilola Adisa to undergo psychiatric evaluation for allegedly killing her baby.

The rights groups, Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative (PRAI) and Postpartum Support Network (PSN) made the appeal in a letter they sent to the attorney-general.

The letter, dated May 19 was signed by the Director of PRAI, Mr Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem. The letter also included an analysis of Adisa’s condition made by PSN.

According to Mr Onyedikachi Ekwerike, a clinical psychologist and founder of PSN, some clinicians have made an analysis of the viral video in which 22-year-old Adisa admitted committing infanticide.

“A detailed analysis of the interview by our clinicians showed that Adisa may be suffering from severe psychiatric illness called postpartum psychosis.

“Postpartum psychosis is an acute mental illness that can affect women after childbirth and it is characterised by extreme difficulty in responding emotionally to a newborn.

“It can often include thoughts of harming the child. Around one in 1,000 women suffer postpartum psychosis,” he said.

The PSN founder explained the symptoms of postpartum psychosis to include delusions, hallucinations, inability to bond with baby and difficulty responding emotionally to baby.

Other symptoms are irritability and confusion, lack of emotional response or blank facial expression and thoughts of suicide or belief that family are better off without them and thoughts of harming the child.

Ekwerike said that from the analysis of the video, Adisa possessed at least five of the symptoms of the illness, noting that Adisa’s baby could have been saved if the mental condition had been detected early.

“If Adisa was screened for postpartum depression and psychosis during pregnancy and after childbirth, her medical providers may have picked up her symptoms and provided her the support she needs to prevent this tragedy.”

Adetola-Kazeem and Ekwerike appealed to the attorney-general to use his good offices to ensure a detailed independent psychiatric and psychological evaluation of Adisa without delay.

“Necessary treatment should be administered rather than going through the route of a criminal trial which could further make her condition worse, making her a threat to herself and those around her,” they said.

In a video that went viral, Adisa admitted to drowning her one-year-old daughter in a bucket of water.

She expressed no regrets for the infanticide and on May 11, she voluntarily reported herself to the police.

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