PPP meets mental health needs in northern Uganda

A partnership involving the public and private sector successfully addressed the mental health needs of people in the post-conflict regions of northern Uganda and could be used as a model in other post-conflict settings, according to a Health In Action article by Ugandan and US researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine as part of an ongoing series on Global Mental Health Practice.

The authors, led by Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu from the University of Makerere in Uganda, explain how the Peter C. Alderman Foundation (a US organization with a mission to heal the emotional wounds of victims of terrorism and mass violence in post-conflict countries) and Ugandan government institutions initiated a public–private partnership (PPP) to deliver low cost, evidence-based care to traumatized populations in northern Uganda.

The PPP leveraged its pooled resources, raising patient care to a level that neither of the partners could provide by working alone. The partnership also employed a systems approach to mental , wherein clinics could deliver uniform treatment that was locally adapted to each tribal culture.

The authors report that over a 6-year period (2005–2011), the partners established five psycho- and people attending the clinics increased from 300 in 2007 to over 3,000 by June 2012.

The authors found that the most common diagnoses in people attending the clinics were depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, and alcohol and substance use. Women were significantly more likely to have depression, , and/or grief reaction, and men were more likely to suffer from alcohol and substance use disorders and/or major mental disorders (such as bipolar disorder and psychosis). Over a 6-month period, there was a reduction in the proportion of patients who had high depression and PTSD symptom scores with a concomitant increase in the proportion of patients with high function scores.

The authors say: "We believe that this partnership provides a model for integrating into the primary care system in low-and middle-income countries."

They continue: "Moreover, we believe it is replicable, and can be rolled out in other post-conflict countries facing similar public health problems."

More information: Nakimuli-Mpungu E, Alderman S, Kinyanda E, Allden K, Betancourt TS, et al. (2013) Implementation and Scale-Up of Psycho-Trauma Centers in a Post-Conflict Area: A Case Study of a Private Public Partnership in Northern Uganda. PLoS Med 10(4): e1001427. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001427

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

PTSD associated with more, longer hospitalizations

Mar 27, 2008

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with more hospitalizations, longer hospitalizations and greater mental ...

Returning troops face both physical and mental challenges

Sep 20, 2010

Is the US health system comprehensively meeting the needs of returning veterans? With the recent attention to mental illness in returning soldiers, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular, little research ...

Recommended for you

Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some

3 hours ago

Some people take stress in stride; others are done in by it. New research at Rockefeller University has identified the molecular mechanisms of this so-called stress gap in mice with very similar genetic backgrounds—a ...

Family dinners reduce effects of cyberbullying in adolescents

15 hours ago

Sharing regular family meals with children may help protect them from the effects of cyberbullying, according to a study by McGill professor Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy. Because family meal times represent ...

The Edwardians were also fans of brain training

21 hours ago

Brain-training programmes are all the rage. They are part of a growing digital brain-health industry that earned more than US$1 billion in revenue in 2012 and is estimated to reach US$6 billion by 2020. The extent to which they actually improve brain function re ...

Report advocates improved police training

Aug 29, 2014

A new report released yesterday by the Mental Health Commission of Canada identifies ways to improve the mental health training and education that police personnel receive.

User comments