Wives of returning soldiers and police officers who served in conflict zones lamented behavioural changes in their spouses on Wednesday in Abuja.
“One of the major issues is the distinct behavioural traits of returning officers such as nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, and bursts of anger among others.
“These were not synonymous with our husbands’ characters before deployment,’’ they told the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Ibrahim Attahiru, whom they paid a courtesy visit.
They said as fallout of this, the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) would establish a state-of-the-art Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnostic centre.
DEPOWA President, Victoria Irabor, who led members on the courtesy visit said officers and soldiers usually returned from conflict zones with physical injuries and suppressed emotional trauma built from experiences in the field.
She said that consultations with medical experts showed that those behavioural changes were triggered by trauma and could be known as PTSD.
“Consequently, we intend to collaborate with the Chief of Army Staff to provide solutions by uniting our voices.
“It is our desire to have a reintegrated structure for our officers and husbands to ensure that they return to us in good health and total wellness.
“It is for this reason that I wish to propose the establishment of a PTSD evaluation and rehabilitation centre.
“It will evaluate, counsel and provide adequate support to officers, soldiers and by extension their wives prior to reintegration from conflict zones.
“We have a good number of medical facilities across military formations in the country, but they do not provide thorough diagnostic services to tackle some of these emerging challenges,’’ she said.
Mrs Irabor solicited the collaboration and support of the Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chiefs to establish the state-of-the-art diagnostic centre.
According to her, the facility will also serve as a repository for future research on health challenges in the military so as to provide better solutions and support.
“With all these identified target support areas, we know we cannot go on this journey without your support and collaboration,’’ she COAS.
Responding, Mr Attahiru, commended DEPOWA and all the services’ officers wives association for their foresight in addressing the physical and emotional needs of personnel and their families.
The army chief said that the various programmes being executed across barracks were beneficial to all, assuring that all the services would support DEPOWA.
“I assure you of our support in all the projects and programmes that you intend to carry out and I also wish you well,’’ Mr Attahiru said.
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