First PRIME PhD candidate graduates

1 Nov 2016 - 12:00

Congratulations to Carrie Brooke-Sumner, the first PRIME PhD candidate to graduate.

Her PhD focused on developing a community-based psychosocial rehabilitation programme for people with schizophrenia in the North West province of South Africa as part of PRIME. This involved the development, piloting, and initial process evaluation (including feasibility and acceptability) of the programme.

People with long term and severe mental illnesses remain some of the most marginalised in any society. Psychosocial support is well recognised as important for recovery, in addition to provision of antipsychotic medication. 

However, in low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa, evidence for task-sharing community-based psychosocial approaches for schizophrenia remains limited. This PhD has added to the developing evidence base in this area.  The process evaluation showed people with schizophrenia had experienced improvements in illness knowledge, self-care, reduced social isolation and increased contributions to their household’s chores. Important implementation challenges the programme faced included difficulties in tracing and engaging service users and families, lack of an appropriate venue, and issues with supply of antipsychotic medication. These reflect the challenges of working in a low resource context.

Carrie holds a BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Rhodes University South Africa. She completed a Master’s degree in Public Health (specialising in Health Promotion) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2007, and on returning to South Africa in 2008 worked as a consultant in health promotion for NGOs in the HIV sector. In 2012 she joined the PRIME-SA team at UKZN as a PhD candidate.