BMJ open 2017 02 287(2) e014067 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014067
Integrating mental healthcare into primary care can reduce the global burden of mental disorders. Yet data on the effective implementation of real-world task-shared mental health programmes are limited. In 2012, the Rwandan Ministry of Health and the international healthcare organisation Partners in Health collaboratively adapted the Mentoring and Enhanced Supervision at Health Centers (MESH) programme, a successful programme of supported supervision based on task-sharing for HIV/AIDS care, to include care of neuropsychiatric disorders within primary care settings (MESH Mental Health). We propose 1 of the first studies in a rural low-income country to assess the implementation and clinical outcomes of a programme integrating neuropsychiatric care into a public primary care system.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS
A mixed-methods evaluation will be conducted. First, we will conduct a quantitative outcomes evaluation using a pretest and post-test design at 4 purposively selected MESH MH participating health centres. At least 112 consecutive adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or epilepsy will be enrolled. Primary outcomes are symptoms and functioning measured at baseline, 8 weeks and 6 months using clinician-administered scales: the General Health Questionnaire and the brief WHO Disability Assessment Scale. We hypothesise that service users will experience at least a 25% improvement in symptoms and functioning from baseline after MESH MH programme participation. To understand any outcome improvements under the intervention, we will evaluate programme processes using (1) quantitative analyses of routine service utilisation data and supervision checklist data and (2) qualitative semistructured interviews with primary care nurses, service users and family members.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION
This evaluation was approved by the Rwanda National Ethics Committee (Protocol #736/RNEC/2016) and deemed exempt by the Harvard University Institutional Review Board. Results will be submitted for peer-reviewed journal publication, presented at conferences and disseminated to communities served by the programme.