Opportunity: HIPZ Mental Health Programme Volunteer

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Opportunity: HIPZ Mental Health Programme Volunteer

Organisational Profile

Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ), a UK charity established in 2006, has created a unique model of healthcare delivery in Zanzibar. Through an innovative collaboration with the Government of Zanzibar, HIPZ endeavours to strengthen the services provided in two rural hospitals. Since taking over the management of Makunduchi Hospital in the south of Zanzibar and Kivunge Hospital in the north, HIPZ has transformed health services for 300,000 people – a quarter of the population of Zanzibar. This has been achieved primarily through a unique collaborative approach, building on local capacity and the expertise of our volunteer doctors and other healthcare professionals.

HIPZ has been working to improve mental health care in Zanzibar since 2014 with the initiation of weekly, nurse-led mental health service at both hospitals. HIPZ has been instrumental in increasing the awareness of mental distress and psychosocial disability within the Zanzibari community, as well as in the training and mentoring of Zanzibari clinical staff.

HIPZ has acquired funding to expand our work and focus development on community-based services that improve access to effective support for rural communities in the north and south of Unguja, Zanzibar. Key service developments will include increased emphasis on psychological approaches, including the introduction of an initiative based on a successful “Friendship Bench” model used in Southern Africa, and improving collaboration with Zanzibar Ministry of Health-recognised traditional healers. HIPZ will also focus on expansion of our clinical team, training of staff and community outreach via awareness raising and training.

HIPZ is seeking an experienced, motivated individual with an enthusiasm for improving mental health services in low resource settings.

About the Role

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Support and mentor nurses leading clinics at Kivunge Cottage Hospital, which provide treatment for patients with mental, neurological and substance misuse disorders, using the World Health Organisation’s mhGAP manual
  • Provide regular training sessions for nurses leading clinics, with a focus on psycho-social as well as pharmacological approaches
  • Coordinate and support nurses in a community outreach programme which aims to increase awareness of mental health services available at Kivunge Cottage Hospital
  • Support Zanzibar’s mental health coordinator in providing training for Primary Health Care Unit staff members on screening for and treatment of mental distress and psychosocial disability
  • Work with partners in the Zanzibar Ministry of Health and Zimbabwe to pilot and roll out the Friendship Bench Programme at Primary Healthcare Units, a programme which trains lay health workers to accessible talking therapies for the local community
  • Develop Kivunge Cottage Hospital’s relationship with traditional healers in the Kivunge catchment are with the aim of increasing collaboration between the biomedical and the traditional sectors in improving mental health

Person specifications:


  • Experience of working in community mental health services (at least three years experience in a mental health setting), with qualifications in psychiatry or allied disciplines
  • Passion for improving mental healthcare in low-income countries using community and rights-based approaches
  • Previous experience of leadership in a healthcare setting
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with professionals at all levels in diverse settings
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Experience and knowledge of research, ethics approval and data collection.
  • Willingness to learn Swahili / demonstrable skills in languages
  • Proficiency in English language
  • Valid driving license


  • Experience of living and working in healthcare in low resource settings
  • Experience of living and working within East Africa
  • Experience of working with the mhGAP
  • Experience of psycho-social approaches to helping patients with mental distress and psychosocial disability
  • Experience of working with patients with developmental disorders and neurological disorders
  • Proficiency in Swahili
  • Familiarity with The Friendship Bench model of care or other community based mental health interventions


HIPZ will provide reimbursement for flights, insurance and medical indemnity, as well as providing accommodation and reimbursing petrol and communication costs throughout the post.

How to apply

Please send us your curriculum vitae and a supporting letter (maximum two sides of A4) outlining how you meet the person specifications. Please include details for two references with your application – please note that we will only contact referees with your permission.

Please send your application to petemcgovern1@gmail.com no later than 5pm on Friday, 8 December 2017.