The program focuses on targeted activities to achieve the following objectives:
Raising Mental Health Awareness
The teams are creating awareness in communities and the OPD through health education on stigma and discrimination and on the range of high quality services available at various health facilities for people experiencing a mental health problem. Media outlets such as community radios and information centers feature anti-stigma messages as well.
Activities use evidence based interventions for specific groups (community groups, healthcare providers and young adults). Results will be evaluated on the impact on patient outcomes.
- Community groups:
Health education is carried out in the community on stigma and discrimination relating to epilepsy. Community radio and information centers are also used to send the message.
- Healthcare Providers:
Project team members with knowledge in quality improvement methodology meet to brainstorm on ways to attract patients to the health facility. The caregivers have weekly meetings and receive monthly site visits for coaching and mentoring from project officers.
Skills and Knowledge Development of Health Providers
Frontline staff members – health staff working in the participating hospitals – have been trained in continuous quality improvement methodology to identify the gaps that are impeding care given to patients with epilepsy. This enables them to come up with change ideas (innovative ways of increasing identification and managing the cases) which are tested using the Plan – Do – Study – Act (PDSA) cycles. An idea is only made a permanent part of the system if it is tried and tested under various conditions and has been proven to work.
To raise mental health skills, knowledge and information of healthcare providers, face-to-face and virtual educational strategies for community health workers and clinicians (community health centers and district health level clinicians) have been developed, consisting of:
- Capacity building trainings with support and supervision follow-up, aligned with resources and needs of the local settings
- Learning sessions are conducted every four months to share experiences of team members, as well as a refresher session on the continuous quality improvement methodology
Because data is important in this project, teams have been trained in data quality assessment to address the difficulties with validating and entering data in the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS2). The following components are covered:
- Ensuring that data on mental health is an integral component of the existing District Health Information System (DHIS)
- Developing and introducing a community health worker’s information system to allow for proper reporting and managing medication supplies
- Compiling, managing and analyzing all information at the district level
Creating Accessible Mental Health
Introduction of an IT innovation component enables patients with epilepsy to reach out to caregivers as and when seizures occurs. Patients use mobile phones to send data to frontline staff about the date, time and duration of their seizures.