PRIME presents workshop for key stakeholders in Sierra Leone

19 Feb 2019 - 13:30

PRIME research director, Dr Charlotte Hanlon, Prof Atalay Alem, PRIME Ethiopia co-investigator and PRIME's WHO colleague, Dr Neerja Chowdhary, travelled  to the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 8 and 9 February to share learnings from PRIME in order to support Sierra Leone with translating their forthcoming National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan into an implementable district level plan.

The workshop brought together mental health stakeholders in Sierra Leone and was convened by the country's Ministry of Health and Sanitation. After hearing about the experiences of PRIME in Ethiopia, including the successes, areas that did not work so well and potential solutions, participants focused on how the PRIME-informed WHO mental health Gap Action Programme Operations Manual could be applied to Sierra Leone. Key areas of the Strategic Plan that required priority action were identified, separating out activities that could be conducting within existing resources and those which would require additional resources.

Dr Neerja Chowdhary also presented a session on the WHO Operations Manual on which PRIME has collaborated.

"The workshop participants were highly engaged and passionate in their desire to improve mental health care in Sierra Leone. Lessons learned through PRIME resonated with the Sierra Leonean context, which we hope can catalyse mental health care scale-up," says Dr Hanlon.

As a direct result from this the ministry of health participant present at the workshop made a commitment to ensure that the National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan get translated into action, sharing of lessons learned and new ideas about the way forward.

Access a report on the workshop as well as the presentations here: https://zivahub.uct.ac.za/s/8557d8e7546b6f72afb9