Providing Sustainable Mental and Neurological Health Care in Ghana and Kenya: Workshop Summary


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Mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders are the leading cause of disability and the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. Despite this high burden, there is a significant shortage of resources available to prevent, diagnose, and treat these disorders. Approximately four out of five people with serious MNS disorders living in low- and middle-income countries do not receive needed health services, with Sub-Saharan Africa having one of the largest treatment gaps.

Expanding on previous efforts in SSA, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, in collaboration with the IOM’s Board on Global Health and African Science Academy Development Initiative, convened a workshop series to examine country-specific opportunities to improve the health care infrastructure in Ghana and Kenya, to better prevent, diagnose, and treat MNS disorders. Key stakeholders from all sectors of the health system gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 14–15, 2015, and Accra, Ghana, on April 28–29, 2015, to discuss the key elements of a sustainable mental health care system and the challenges to creating or maintaining such a system. Challenges discussed included inadequate health system infrastructure, a lack of national policy frameworks for mental health, deficient health information systems, stigma, and poor access to medicines. Participants in both workshops were asked to identify specific opportunities to advance sustainable access to mental health care in order to ensure that the right patients get the right care and treatment, at the right time, and in the right setting. This document summarizes the discussions from the workshop series. 

To see the meeting agenda and presentations from the workshop in Nairobi, Kenya click here.

To see the meeting agenda and presentations from the workshop in Accra, Ghana click here.