PRIME-SA team launches research in strong partnership with national, provincial and local stakeholders

1 Mar 2012 - 12:00

The South African research team of PRIME, a developing country research consortium, launched its research in the Kenneth Kaunda District of the North West Province.  

As part of the overall goal to develop evidence for integrating mental health services into the maternal and primary health care systems in low and middle-income countries, PRIME- SA was launched in Klerksdorp in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district in the North West Province. Led by Professor Inge Petersen from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), in collaboration with Professor Arvin Bhana from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Dr Lara Fairall from the University of Cape Town, PRIME- SA aims to develop a model for integrating mental health into the re-engineered primary health care system in South Africa. This will be piloted in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district in the North West Province with the view to scaling up throughout the province, and possibly to other provinces.

Using a participatory approach, the research was initiated with a series of workshops with the aim of developing an integrated district mental health plan. Participants included national and provincial partners in the Department of Health and the NGO sector, and health practitioners, including mental health specialists, doctors and nurses from the district.

Dr Uma Nagpal, Director of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda health district, welcomed the PRIME-SA team to the district. Pointing out the unmet need for mental health services, particularly at the Primary Health Care level, Ms Nomvula Sibanyoni of the national Department of Health emphasised the commitment of the department to PRIME-SA, and to making resources available where possible for the implementation of this project.

Dr Badu Mothusi, director of special programmes in the North West Province, emphasised their goal to make mental health services available to all 3.5 million people in the province, wherever they may be. To ensure the success of the project, Dr Mothusi highlighted the importance of working together to strengthen community-based services and implement the new Mental Health Care Act.

The CEO of PRIME, Prof Crick Lund from the University of Cape Town (UCT), expressed his delight at the partnerships that have been developed, and echoed the importance of working together to address the neglected public health issue of mental illness 

The warm welcome from health professionals in the District, and the high level of cooperation with national and provincial government in the Department of Health, and civil society is an early sign of a strong working relationship developing amongst stakeholders. This will hopefully result in a successful, evidence-based model for integrating mental health care into primary and maternal health systems, which can be used in other health districts and provinces nationally.  

Click below to watch a short photo presentation of PRIME-South Africa’s launch in the District.