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Evaluating the integration of chronic care elements in primary health care for people with mental illness: a longitudinal study in Nepal conducted among primary health care workers

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Nawaraj Upadhaya, Mark J.D. Jordans, Ramesh P. Adhikari, Dristy Gurung, Ruwayda Petrus, Inge Petersen, Ivan H. Komproe

Original languageEnglish
Article number632
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Despite many important developments in the global mental health arena in the past decade, many people with mental health problems still do not have access to good quality mental health care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the perceived impact of a mental health care package (MHCP) in integrating chronic care elements in primary health care for people with mental illness. METHODS: A controlled pre-post study design was used in 20 primary health care facilities in Chitwan, Nepal. We compared 10 health facilities that had implemented a MHCP (intervention group), with 10 health facilities that had not implemented the MHCP (comparative control group) but provided regular physical health services. We administered the Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (ACIC) tool on a group basis within all 20 health facilities among 37 health workers. Data was collected at three time points; at baseline, midline (at 13 months from baseline) and end line (at 25 months from baseline). RESULTS: From baseline to end line, we see a notable shift in the level of support reported by the intervention health facilities compared to those in the comparative control group. While at baseline 10% of the intervention health facilities had basic support for the implementation of chronic illness care, at the end line, 90% of the intervention group reported having reasonable support with the remaining 10% of the intervention facilities reporting that they had full support. In contrast, 20% of the health facilities in the comparative control group at end line still reported having limited support for the implementation of chronic illness care, with the remaining 80% only managing to shift to the next level which is basic support. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that training and supervision of primary health care workers in the implementation of MHCP interventions can lead to strengthening of the system to better address the needs of patients with chronic mental health problems. However, substantial financial and coordination inputs are needed to implement the MHCP. The comparative control group also demonstrated improvements, possibly due to the administration of the ACIC tool and components of counselling services for family planning and HIV/AIDS services.

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