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Publication

Strengthening mental health systems in Zambia

Abstract
Background
Studies in mental health care for low resource settings indicate that providing services at primary care level would significantly improve provision and utilisation of mental health services. Challenges related to inadequate funding were noted as significant barriers to service provision, with the contribution of low knowledge of mental health conditions and stigma in the community. This study aimed to explore the barriers to the use of mental health services in Zambia, suggesting health systems thinking approaches to solving these challenges.

Methods
Primary data were collected through individual interviews from 12 participants; primary caregivers, health workers from public health institutions that treat mental health conditions and policymakers and implementers. The digitally recorded responses were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results
Key barriers to care included inadequate funding, few human resources, poor infrastructure and stigma. Barriers to care at policy, facility and individual or community level could be alleviated by strengthening the mental health system. Engagement of community health workers and increasing efforts to sensitise the community about mental health would prove beneficial.

Conclusions
Strengthening the community health systems for mental health could improve access and increase utilisation of services.

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
Munakampe MN
Year of Publication
2020
Journal
International Journal of Mental Health Systems
Volume
14
Issue
1
Language
eng
ISSN Number
1752-4458
DOI
10.1186/s13033-020-00360-z
Publication Language
eng