Training on Mental Health using the Mental Health - GAP (mh-GAP) Guideline

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.

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