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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 243-251

Implementing the Mental Health Gap Action Programme in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

1 National Consultant, Mental Health, World Health Organization, Bangladesh
2 Associate Professor (Psychiatry), National Institute of Mental Health, Bangladesh
3 Associate Professor (Psychiatry), National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital, Bangladesh
4 Programme Manager, Noncommunicable Disease Control Programme, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh
5 Deputy Programme Manager, Noncommunicable Disease Control Programme, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh
6 Regional Adviser (Mental Health), World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, Bangladesh
7 Medical Officer, Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Hasina Momotaz
National Consultant, WHO Country Office, United House (Ground to 3rd Floor), 10 Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan-1, Dhaka 1212
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_14_19

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In response to the overwhelming need for mental health and psychosocial support as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar, the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Bangladesh, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurosciences, implemented the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme in November 2017. Over the course of two trainings and supervision visits, general physicians, counsellors and other health professionals from both government facilities and nongovernmental organisations, working with both the host and Rohingya populations, have improved their capacity to assess and manage priority mental, neurological and substance use conditions using the Mental Health Gap Action Programme intervention guidelines. After the first training, over 75% of participants reported feeling confident to apply their learning to their work. Participants receiving the supervision visit valued this follow-up modality and demonstrated a high level of competency during an observed consultation. This was the first instance of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme implementation by the government of Bangladesh following a humanitarian crisis. Our findings suggest that trainees are providing better quality services to assess and manage mental health conditions and that mental health is being integrated into primary health care service delivery.

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