Building the capacity of policy-makers and planners to strengthen mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review
Little is known about the interventions required to build the capacity of mental health policy-makers and planners in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). A systematic review was conducted with the primary aim of identifying and synthesizing the evidence base for building the capacity of policy-makers and planners to strengthen mental health systems in LMICs.
Key results of the review: Only a small number of mental health system-related capacity-building interventions for policy-makers and planners in LMICs were described. Most models of capacity-building combined brief training with longer term mentorship, dialogue and/or the establishment of networks of support. However, rigorous research and evaluation methods were largely absent, with studies being of low quality, limiting the potential to separate mental health system strengthening outcomes from the effects of associated contextual factors. This review demonstrates the need for partnership approaches to building the capacity of mental health policy-makers and planners in LMICs, assessed rigorously against pre-specified conceptual frameworks and hypotheses, utilizing longitudinal evaluation and mixed quantitative and qualitative approaches.