This project aims at testing the applicability of a model that seeks to utilize mobile technology to train, supervise, support and monitor application of mhGAP-IG depression module on non-mental health workers in four rural and remote health care facilities in Kenya.
Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted to assess health care workers' current practice and also to discuss their role, experiences and any difficulties, barriers and suggested solutions in treating patients with mental disorders, particularly depression. Non-mental health workers were later trained on how to assess and manage depression using mobile based mhGAP-IG, and how to work closely with a mental health specialist for consultation, monitoring, supervision and support. They were also trained in how to send their data electronically and safely to a central computer/server. This has reduced time and travel barriers, and facilitated continuous dialog between the health care workers and the consultant, as well as improving access to quality care for patients. Consequently, there will be continuous monitoring of quality of practice based on the objective mhGAP-IG, rather than subjective clinical diagnosis and sporadic inspection of records on site visits. This will be done through onsite supervisory visits, calls and frequent data checks as data uploads at a central server at Africa Mental Health Foundation.
The ease of the screening and diagnostic matrix on mobile phones means that the innovation will not unduly interfere with the already busy schedules of the health workers. This technique, along with the increase in mental health literacy as a result of the intervention will result in:
- Increased screening, diagnosis and management of patients with depression
- Dual management and creation of a health information system for depression and other medical conditions
These factors will lead to better clinical and functional outcomes of service users.
Beck’s Depression Inventory will be used to assess patient health outcomes at an interval of 0, 6 and 12 weeks. Community health workers will be used to trace defaulters where necessary. Therefore, integrating e-medicine into routine practice will increase access to treatment for depression.