Health is the state of complete mental, physical and social well-being. Good mental health is related to mental and psychological well-being. WHO’s role on the promotion of mental health of individuals and society at large includes capacity building in the promotion of mental well-being, the prevention and control of mental disorders, the protection of human rights and the proper management and care of people affected by mental disorders.
The MOH NCD Mental Health Unit in collaboration with WHO Eritrea has conducted training using the WHO mh-GAP guideline as part of the cascade trainings following the TOT (Training of Trainers) that was conducted in August 2019. The training was conducted in Mendefera, in Debub Zone, at Mereb Hotel Hall from 30 September to 9 October 2019 as the first event of the planned/scheduled cascade trainings. Similar cascade trainings will follow in the other Zones using the same guideline.
The mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) for low- and middle-income countries has the objective of scaling up care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. The mhGAP Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) has been developed to facilitate mhGAP-related delivery of evidence-based interventions in non-specialized health-care settings in the low income countries.
The main objective of the training was to raise awareness of the health workers about mental health and mental illness so that they could identify, diagnose, manage and refer clients with mental health problems to relevant heath facilities timely. In addition, it was aimed at training health workers on mh-GAP: to enable them preventing mental health disorders; to promote quality mental health services and to reduce stigma as well as to integrate mental health services into PHC, HIV/AIDS program and to address the needs of people living with HIV/AID.
Around 30 health workers attended the training and these were Hospital directors, physicians and NCD focal persons of sub-zones who are not specialized in mental health or neurology. The training had two parts: the first one was 6 days intensive theoretical training followed by a four days practical training. After the practical session, trainees were expected to conduct a simulation exercise with a case study and send their reports to the NCD unit of the respective Zone.
The training was facilitated by Mr. Solomon Nemariam, Mental Health program coordinator at the MOH Head quarter; Dr. Bernandos Bahta, Dekemhare Hospital Medical Director; Mr. Yemane Tsegai, Zonal NCD coordinator; Mr. Abraham Tsegai Psychiatric Nurse Mendefera Referral Hospital and Mr. Amanuel Okbagebrel, Mental Health unit at Head quarter.
During the training different types of mental health problems were addressed including community mental health, prevention of mental illness, psychological treatment, seizure and epilepsy, personality disorders and psychoses associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Methodologies used during the training include power point presentations, plenary discussions, questions and answers, brain storming, group works (case studies) followed by group presentations. The training was preceded by a pre-test that was followed by a post-test to assess the effect of the intervention.
Finally , recommendations were passed to organize similar cascade trainings in the respective Zones for health workers at least every year to refresh for the better management of Mental Health related problems; improve the skills on the prevention, detection and cases management; to strengthen facility capacity by equipping with adequate & appropriate materials and mental health related drugs.