As our regular readers will already know, Gede Foundation signed a 6-month research contract with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Nigeria/ Sustainable Mechanisms for Improved Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) project in May 2016. The contract is focused on delivering an approach to community based detection, treatment and referral services for vulnerable children with mental health and psychosocial problems and their caregivers. Sequel to the 7-day training on Research for project Research Assistants and CRS-SMILE Team in June, a three-day training on Data Validation was conducted from25th of July to the 27th of July inclusive.
Dr. Brandon Khort, one of Gede’s Board members and an assistant professor at Duke University conducted the training. Dr. Khort also provides technical support for the project. He specialises in Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Anthropology and has done research interventions in several countries such as Nepal, Mongolia, Haiti and various parts of Africa. The participants to the training were four (4) mental health experts engaged by Gede Foundation to support the project in its data validation stage where screening tools that were culturally adapted will be tested against a gold standard tool. Dr. Cynthia Ticao, Jeremy Boglosa and Temitope Gafaar (a volunteer from Duke University) were among those in the training.
The training was highly technical because it focused more on diagnosis of mental health conditions among children but Dr. Kohrt delivered it in a very practical and interactive manner. The first day focused more on data validation process and review of the tool. One the second day, the mental health experts practiced by administering the tool with children invited by Gede from one of its partner communities. The last day was a time for the mental health experts to get acquainted with the research assistants. The group reviewed the translated screening tools on the same day.
The project has gone to a level where the tools and personnel are almost ready to go to the communities to interact and gather data from the respondents. There is still a long way to go but the project team both from Gede Foundation and Catholic Relief Services-SMILE is confident that the results of research project will go a long way in opening avenues for discussion regarding child mental health in Nigeria.