Adaptation of WHO’s mhGAP Guide in Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador

Several Central American countries organized workshops for adapting the mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings. PAHO/ WHO participated and provided technical advice through the Subregional Advisor on Mental Health, Victor Aparicio Basauri, and other professionals from the Organization, such as Consultant Ana Cecilia Escobar.

One of the workshops was held in Guatemala City on May 8-9. The country has programmed training unspecialized care professionals for the use of this guide in several departments where decentralization of mental health services has been planned or is already taking place (Sololá, Petén, Santa Rosa, Jutiapa, San Marcos and Chimaltenango, among others). The workshop was attended by the National Mental Health Program Coordinator, Susana Lemus.

In San Jose de Costa Rica the workshop was held on July 31 and August 1 under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, with the cooperation of the “Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social” (social security fund). National experts from different disciplines shared their knowledge and expertise during the activity.

In El Salvador, the adaptation workshop took place on October 2-3, with the active participation of a group of national experts. It was coordinated by Carlos A. Escalante, Director of the National Mental Health Program (Ministry of Health).