Addis Ababa



Scaling up care for people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders in Ethiopia

2010 - 2013

In Ethiopia, 12-17% of the population suffers from mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders (MNS). But the lack of funds – only 1.7% of the national health budget goes to mental health – means there are few specialists outside the capital and MNS services are poor. As a result, patients are prone to neglect and disability, and their rights may be violated.

This project aimed to pilot the MhGap Programme, the World Health Organization’s action plan to bridge the gap between the treatment needed by people suffering from mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries and what was actually available. It trained general health workers in depression, psychosis, bipolar disorders, epilepsy, developmental and behavioural disorders in children and adolescents, dementia, alcohol use disorders, drug use disorders, self-harm/suicide and other significant complaints.

Mental health was integrated into 19 primary health care clinics and services expanded into four regions. Ethiopia’s national plan calls for further expansion of mental health services over 12 years in all regions and more than 300 non-specialized health workers will be trained in mental health.

Project Highlights

Activities and beneficiaries


cases detected and treated or referred during the last six months


mental health professionals and primary health care workers trained


people who benefited from the project in the four pilot areas of implementation