The assessments carried out on mental health systems using the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (AIMS) and ATLAS questionnaires from 2005 onwards identified gaps in all domains – policy, legislation, financial and human resources, service delivery, research and evaluation translating into treatment gaps, which ranged from 74%–86% in low- and middle-income countries. WHO launched the mental health gap action programme (mhGAP) in 2008 to bridge the gap in services between what is available and what is needed. The mhGAP intervention guide (9mhGAP-IG) was developed in 2010 to provide evidence diagnostic and treatment algorithms for a limited number of priority mental health conditions.
The WHO country office in Somalia, in collaboration with WHO Regional Office, the WHO country office in Ethiopia and the Ministries of Health in Somalia organized a training of trainers workshop on the mhGAP intervention guide in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 July to 4 August 2012. The objectives of the training were to:
- familiarize participants with the intervention guide
- familiarize participants with the facilitator's guide for mhGAP-IG
- familiarize participants with the requirements for preparing training sessions on the intervention guide
- expose participants to various teaching/training methods to train non-specialist staff on the guide
- provide a safe environment for participants to practise facilitation skills to teach and train non-specialist staff on the guide
- identify potential supervisors from among the participants.
An initial workshop was held in Nairobi in April 2012 with Somali senior professionals representing Ministries of Health, educational institutions and health service providers to adapt the mhGAP training material and intervention guide to the Somali context.
This training of trainers was held in Ethiopia for 18 mental health professionals (doctors, psychiatric nurses, mental health officers), academics from medical schools/nursing schools, as well as public health officers and primary health care supervisors. The pre- and post-training assessment, as well as structured feedback on individual sessions indicated significant improvement in knowledge and skills of participants to conduct training of non-specialists in their respective regions during the next phase of mhGAP implementation programme for Somalia.