With the support of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, a team of mental health experts from the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) launched a project, called the Mental Health in Primary Care (MeHPriC), with funding received from Grand Challenges Canada. This project was a capacity building exercise aimed at developing, testing, implementing and evaluating effective, affordable, acceptable and scalable interventions for priority mental health conditions in the primary care contexts in Lagos State. The project was divided into two phases.
The first phase – called the Pilot Study – which was completed in 2015, tested the effectiveness of a developed depression management plan in 15 Primary Health Centers. Research from the study showed that the treatment plan is effective clinically and is predictable and cost-effective.
Thereafter, the Transition to Scale Phase was activated, and about 800 health care workers from the 57 flagship PHCs received training to recognize and manage common mental disorders like depression and anxiety. The training also focused on how to recognize signs of suicidal ideation in patients and guidelines on what to do.
As part of its integration into the health system, the PHCs were grouped into clusters and assigned to specific State General Hospitals to serve as district points for effective referral and transition of care pathways.
Now that the funds from Grand Challenges Canada has completed its cycle, the Lagos State Ministry of Health has integrated the programme into its strategies for providing sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens.
Find out more about the initial Mental Health in Primary Care project.