Mental health and HIV/AIDS in Africa.
(Care and treatment)
HIV patients (Psychological aspects)
Mental health (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
|Publication:||Name: South African Journal of Psychiatry Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 1608-9685|
|Issue:||Date: March, 2008 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 1|
|Topic:||Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa|
Poor access to mental health care for people infected and affected
by HIV combined with poor access to HIV prevention, care and treatment
for people with mental health needs were key themes discussed at a World
Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) expert forum convened in Cape Town,
South Africa, in January.
The forum of 23 leaders from different specialties in the AIDS and mental health fields explored mental health needs for all aspects of the AIDS response, with particular attention to the needs of carers, people living with HIV and vulnerable children--groups identified as often experiencing the most significant mental health challenges as a result of AIDS.
Research by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group and Wits University showed that 89% of home-based care workers in North West Province and Mpumalanga were depressed or showed signs of depression. WHO consultant Melvyn Freeman referenced a study in Zambia that showed 85% of pregnant women diagnosed HIV positive had episodes of major depression and many had suicidal thoughts, and another revealing increased depression and suicide among AIDS orphans in East and Southern Africa.
The meeting also heard how service gaps can lead to undue suffering, loss of quality of life, and poor uptake of, and adherence to, HIV prevention, treatment and AIDS care programmes.
In a keynote presentation Frank Njenga, president of the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professions, offered an overview of the status of mental health in Africa, emphasising how the trauma of AIDS experienced by individuals, families and communities has significantly increased the need for an urgent scale-up of comprehensive mental health services that work in collaboration with national and local AIDS programmes.
Participants agreed to support a WFMH Africa Initiative on AIDS that will raise the profile of existing collaborative efforts, best practices and tools, and further mobilise and bring together organisations committed to greater collaboration between the mental health and HIV fields. The Initiative will seek to mobilise further interest at the African Psychiatric Conference in Ghana in April 2008, compile an online directory of joint HIV and mental health resources, develop a series of policy papers and information packs for key workers, and convene a partners' conference in early 2009 exploring the mental health consequences of AIDS for people living with HIV, their families, caregivers and communities.
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|