Psychological treatments delivered by community health workers in low-resource government health systems: effectiveness of group interpersonal psychotherapy for caregivers of children affected by nodding syndrome in Uganda.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Despite increasing evidence for the benefits of psychological treatments (PTs) in low- and middle-income countries, few national health systems have adopted PTs as standard care. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G) intervention, when delivered by lay community health workers (LCHWs) in a low-resource government health system in Uganda. The intended outcome was reduction of depression among caregivers of children with nodding syndrome, a neuropsychiatric condition with high morbidity, mortality and social stigma. METHODS: A non-randomized trial design was used. Caregivers in six villages (n = 69) received treatment as usual (TAU), according to government guidelines. Caregivers in seven villages (n = 73) received TAU as well as 12 sessions of IPT-G delivered by LCHWs. Primary outcomes were caregiver and child depression assessed at 1 and 6 months post-intervention. RESULTS: Caregivers who received IPT-G had a significantly greater reduction in the risk of depression from baseline to 1 month [risk ratio (RR) 0.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.10-0.62] and 6 months (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.11-0.95) post-intervention compared with caregivers who received TAU. Children of caregivers who received IPT-G had significantly greater reduction in depression scores than children of TAU caregivers at 1 month (Cohen's d = 0.57, p = 0.01) and 6 months (Cohen's d = 0.54, p = 0.03). Significant effects were also observed for psychological distress, stigma and social support among caregivers. CONCLUSION: IPT-G delivered within a low-resource health system is an effective PT for common mental health problems in caregivers of children with a severe neuropsychiatric condition and has psychological benefits for the children as well. This supports national health policy initiatives to integrate PTs into primary health care services in Uganda.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mutamba, BB; Kane, JC; de Jong, JTVM; Okello, J; Musisi, S; Kohrt, BA

Published Date

  • November 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 48 / 15

Start / End Page

  • 2573 - 2583

PubMed ID

  • 29444721

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6093795

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-8978

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0033291718000193


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England