Perú: Promoting mental health reform in Huaycán

From the beginning of his tenure as Director of the Hermilio Valdizán Hospital, in August 2009, Dr. Rafael Navarro Cueva decided to prioritize the implementation of Mental Health Care Reform.

This initiative was reinforced by an act of commitment signed with East Lima’s Health Office IV -Ministry of Health- (Dirección de Salud IV Lima Este), which set forth the reorientation of mental health services to community care in Huaycán. To this end, a Pilot Plan was started in this urban community of about 160,000 inhabitants.

They have since been working at the primary care level, mostly training general physicians and organizing awareness-raising campaigns for the benefit of the community. Actions are planned by the “Reform Steering Committee”, and largely designed by the Hospital’s Mental Health Promotion Department.

All these efforts will be reinforced through a strategic alliance with the Municipality of Ate (an Agreement between the Municipality and the Ministry of Health), which will help establish the Municipal Community Mental Health Center and inaugurate the first shelter or foster home.

Actions will also include continuous detection and care of people with psychotic disorders in Huaycán, who will be added to a database and included in a follow-up visits program.

Following the Peruvian Health Ministry’s policy, they will continue training general practitioners in primary care diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, and in the implementation of primary prevention programs, such as the Strong Families project, a cutting-edge proposal of the Pan America Health Organization.