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Responding to mental health needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey: mhGAP training impact assessment
Abstract Background About 1468 Syrian and Turkish doctors, serving in primary health care, have received the mhGAP training during 2016–2019. As additional training needs were identified, MoH and WHO wanted to understand the usefulness of the training and its impact in responding to the mental health needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Methods A five component assessment was done in 2019, consisting of feedback of trainees, assessment of increase in knowledge; utilization of service; compliance to treatment guidelines and service user satisfaction. The purpose was to understand the perception of participants on the training; estimate the knowledge gained—attributable to the training; estimate the increase in mental health cases identified and treated; compliance with treatment guidelines; as well as perception of the services received by end-beneficiaries. Results Results indicate that most of the respondents were happy with the training, but preferred additional mhGAP training as a refresher course in the future. There was knowledge gained due to the training, 9% for the Syrian and 5% for Turkish doctors. The knowledge gained has helped the practicing doctors to be more attentive and increase the numbers of cases diagnosed after the training for almost all groups of diagnoses. Most doctors, observed during practice, comply with the guidelines shared during the training, but improvement is still needed when it comes to prescription and treatment of certain conditions. The average number of mental health cases identified increased by 38 (%27) cases in the year following the training. We observed over 70% compliance with guidelines for 9 out of 12 criteria in question. The results of the patient exit interviews indicate a high level of satisfaction with the MHPSS services provided. About 95% of beneficiaries were happy with the quality of the service, and 92% having their needs met. Conclusions The mhGAP training was found useful. More training should be conducted to fill in the gap in service provision and meet the mental needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey.