On Monday, February 12 2018, Gede Foundation and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) hosted a stakeholders meeting in Abuja to review the report from a research towards ‘Developing Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Screening Tools for use among Vulnerable Children in Nigeria.’ The research was conducted by Gede in 2017 in the Federal Capital Territory, with Dr. Bonnie Kaiser from Duke Global Health Institute, USA, as the Principal Investigator.
Participants at the meeting included experts within mental health sector from the federal ministry of health, federal ministry of women affairs and youth development, universities, development partners, hospitals, civil society organisations and health practitioners.
Dr Emeka Anoje, Chief of Party for CRS- SMILE project welcomed participants in his opening remarks, stated the rationale behind funding the research and potential impact that could be achieved when appropriate screeners for mental health conditions are used within the orphans and vulnerable children programmes.
Dr. Kaiser gave an overview of the report and explained different sections of the research such as the procedures, results, challenges and conclusions. She mentioned that four screeners were validated in two languages-Hausa and Pidgin, and these are easy-to-use tools that can be implemented at the community level.
At group sessions, participants made useful inputs into the report and recommended ways in which similar research can yield more positive impacts in future. Although the research suffered some limitations and challenges, the tools are said to be i) semantically and conceptually understood, ii) appropriate for use by lay community members, iii) symptoms sensitive that best distinguish between cases and non-caseness in the Nigerian context and are similar patterned across ethnic/language groups, and, iv) effectively administered as rapidly as possible in emergency situations.
The meeting concluded with questions of ‘what next?’ All the suggestions and questions were taken into consideration and may be included in the final report. Please check back regularly to find out the next step.