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Capacity Building on Mental Health Care and Treatment in Quang Tri

MCNV cooperated with Quang Tri Health Department and Da Nang Mental Health (MH) Hospital to organise a training workshop on basic mental disorder (MD) diagnosis and treatment for grassroots health care workers. The workshop took place between June 12 and 16 2017 at the Da Nang Mental Health (MH) Hospital with the participation of 16 doctors responsible for MH programs, who work at the neurology department of nine medical centers and local hospitals in Quang Tri. The workshop not only provided participants with theories on MH diagnosis and treatment but also provided doctors with opportunities to practice on patients.

“Though the training last for five days only, I have gained much knowledge on mental disorders (MD), including bipolar disorder, new medicine and dosage adjustment. I believe that after the training, I will be more confident in diagnosing and treating patients with MD. However, I still want to have more time to practice on patients and learn more counseling skills for family members”; said one participant, who is an Internal Neurology Doctor at district level.

After the training, Dr. Lam Tu Trung, director of the Da Nang MH Hospital drew up a plan with the Quang Tri Health Department to give distance support to community doctors via Skype every month.

Dr. Lam Tu Trung (left), director of the Da Nang MH Hospital, giving Certificates of Attendance to Participants

The training was part of the Community Mental Health Care Program implemented by MCNV in Quang Tri since 2013 in order to improving health care service quality and improving the quality of life of people with MD. The program is implemented at two districts Huong Hoa and Vinh Linh focusing on providing unofficial services and health care balance, including 1) building capacity for health care workers at communal and district levels; 2) screening MD patients in community; 3) raising people’s awareness about MH; and 4) organising periodic meetings among HD family members;

After four years, the program has built capacity for communal and village health practitioners, who are now able to discover, follow and manage patients with HD in community. The program has trained more than 40 health care workers on discovering and following patients with HD, then transferring them to health clinics. Village and communal health workers participated in community MH screenings and discovered 755 people with signs of MD in the total of 12,000 screened people. Among them, 99 got medical treatments, psychological counseling and examinations at health clinics. Besides, village and communal health workers were trained with creative communication methods, including drama, folk songs, and puppet performance, to organise communication sessions to improve community people’s awareness about MH, reducing their stigma against MD patients and their family.

As studied, more than 2,800 MD patients in Quang Tri have been followed and managed in community; however, only three doctors at provincial level were trained professional in MH treatment. The training and other similar activities hence are significant in supporting communal and village HC workers, improving their capacity in discovering, following and managing MD patients in community.