Capacity building on maternal mental health in Burundi

Ensuring access to mental health care

The mental health program we are supporting in Burundi has become very well known in the region and an increasing number of people, coming from as far as Tanzania and DRC, are benefiting from their services. A competent mental health team trained by our partner, the Peter C. Alderman Foundation (PCAF), is currently providing quality care at the clinic and in rural communities supported by Village Health Works’ (VHW) community health workers.

After a needs assessment carried out at the community level showed that the most reported mental health condition during pregnancy was depression, and due to the ongoing construction of a women’s health pavilion at the VHW clinic, PCAF and Village Health Works decided to invest more specifically in maternal mental health.

During this year, Josephine and Samuel from PCAF Uganda joined VHW to provide a maternal mental health training to illustrate and practice their proposed stepped care model, already used in Uganda. The training, focused on the screening and follow up of depression in pregnant women.

Psychoeducation tools to provide psychosocial support through individual and group therapy were discussed, as were monitoring and evaluation processes to improve outcomes and impact. After the training, the team initiated a systematic screening at the clinic during antenatal care days. To date, 76% of those who tested positive for depression benefited from psychoeducation or psychotherapy.

We are excited to have met the VHW team in person this year and to have witnessed their collaboration with PCAF in addressing maternal mental health. We will continue supporting their vision of building sustainable solutions for mental health care by implementing comprehensive, multidisciplinary mental health services through clinical and community-based interventions.