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Meeting Discusses Integration of Mental Health Services into Primary Health Care

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The Ministry of Health of the Bahamas, the Department of Public Health and the Public Hospitals Authority, with the technical support from PAHO/WHO, conducted a one day workshop on February 7th, 2013, aimed at discussing and validating the logical framework for a national initiative on integrating mental health care services into primary health care (PHC). The overall purposes of the project are to bring mental health services closer to the communities,  to enhance mental health legislation, and to reduce stigma.

The meeting was held at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC).  25 stakeholders representing the government, public hospitals authority and health facilities, made a collaborative effort to agree upon the activities that are needed to improve mental health services at the primary health care level.

This important meeting commenced with opening remarks by Dr. Gerry Eijkemans [PWR Bahamas], who emphasized the need to tackle the global and national burden of mental diseases. Mrs. Sharon Williams (SRC Administrator) highlighted the importance of the project and Dr. Pearl McMillan (Director of the Department of Public Health) stressed the commitment of the government to the process of improving access to quality mental health services.

Following a presentation by Dr. Nelson Clarke [SRC Medical Chief of Staff & Consultant Psychiatrist] on the history of mental health care in the Bahamas, attendees were divided into three groups, in order to validate the activities needed to improve mental health governance, services, and information systems and research. All groups were then afforded opportunity to present their findings and during brief presentations and discussions activities were validated. Training of PHC clinicians will be one of the main activities going forward, and will take place in fifteen pilot areas throughout New Providence and selected family islands between May and September 2013.



Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 17:33

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