The Thinking Healthy Programme (THP) is a manualized intervention that can be incorporated into the routine work of community health workers. It incorporates cognitive and behavioral techniques such as active listening, collaboration with the family and non-threatening inquiry into the family’s health beliefs; this is achieved through challenging beliefs and if necessary offering substitutes for some of these through alternative information.
Starting from pregnancy till one year postnatal, participants received 16 sessions of the evidence based “talking therapy”. The sessions combined the therapy with activities to improve maternal well-being, mother-infant interaction and maternal social support. It also uses inter-session practice activities. It is designed to be integrated into existing maternal and child health education home visits.
Training and supervision of community health workers
The training for community or lay-health workers is brief (5-7 days) and can be conducted by non-specialists with some experience of using THP in their work. A cascade model of supervision and monitoring has been developed whereby a specialist supervises a number of non-specialist trainers via skype, and the non-specialist trainers cascade this training to the lay-health workers.
We have developed an application for delivering training through a tablet device to assist in the scale-up of THP and its use in areas where normal training is hard to conduct, such as those affected by a humanitarian crisis. (See innovation Thinking Healthy Programme – Technology Assisted).