Getinet Ayano, Dawit Assefa, Kibrom Haile and Lulu Bekana
Background: The burden of mental disorders is increaasing in low and middle income countries including Ethiopia but the number of psychiatry professionals is scarce. Integrating mental health in primary health care is vital to address the problem. This survey aimed in assessing the experiences, strengths and challenges of integrating mental health in primary health care in Ethiopia.
Methods: Facility based supervisions was done in primary health care centers where the scale up program was implemented and giving mental health services. Semi structured and standardized WHO mental health Global Action Programme support and supervision questionnaires was used to collect information's.
Findings: A total of 1576 mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders were identified and treated in selected four regions. Majority of identified cases were epilepsy (46.64%) followed by psychosis (28.49%). Essential drugs for treating psychosis, depression and epilepsy were available in almost all health institutions. Delayed support and supervisions, staff turnover, interrupted supply of drugs and shortage of budget were the major identified challenges of integrations.
Conclusions: In general the experiences of mental health integration in Ethiopia have shown promising findings in achievements in number of trained professionals, health care centers involved, availability of drugs and cases identified and treated by trained professionals. Increasing number of staff trained in mental health care and Continuous support and training for trained professionals, supply of psychotropic medication is vital for effectiveness of integration. In additions researches in scale up concentrating on impact and outcomes of interventions are implicated for understanding the success of interventions.