Strengthening Human Resources for Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders in Sub Saharan Africa:A Workshop

When: September 4, 2012 - September 5, 2012 (8:00 AM Eastern)
Where: Sheraton Kampala Hotel • Ternan Avenue , P.O. Box 7041

Topics Biomedical and Health Research, Substance Use and Mental Health, Diseases, Aging, Public Health, Quality and Patient Safety
Activity: Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has one of the largest treatment gaps for mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders in the world. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 people with serious mental disorders living in low- and middle-income countries do not receive needed mental health services. The ability to provide adequate human resources for delivery of essential interventions in MNS disorders has been identified as a critical barrier to bridging the treatment gap. There is an overwhelming call among researchers, medical professionals and others for the development of diverse, well-trained network of mental health care workers to reduce the treatment gap.

Meeting Objectives:

• Assessed the future needs of MNS health care workers based on provider type, treatment environment and MNS disorder.  
    o Examined human resource needs for effective delivery of treatments in a typical African district health care system
    o Considered core competencies and performance requirements necessary to improve human resource capabilities for MNS disorders (e.g. diagnosis, prescribing of medicines, and patient monitoring)
• Discussed potential mechanisms for task-shifting and task-sharing among human resources and across treatment locations.
• Explored potential methods for acquiring and maintaining core competencies
    o  Explored existing and future opportunities for partnerships around:
• Development of programs to train current providers to reach core competencies
• Implementing training programs
• Considered tangible next steps for the dissemination of identified human resource core competencies and performance requirements

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