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Health service utilization by patients with common mental disorder identified by the Self Reporting Questionnaire in a primary care setting in Zomba, Malawi.

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Presentation on theme: "Health service utilization by patients with common mental disorder identified by the Self Reporting Questionnaire in a primary care setting in Zomba, Malawi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Health service utilization by patients with common mental disorder identified by the Self Reporting Questionnaire in a primary care setting in Zomba, Malawi Michael Udedi, Leslie Swartz, Robert Stewart & Felix Kauye

2 Background In Malawi, as in other developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, access to services for people with mental health problems is poor. Non specialized health care workers provide mental health services in the primary care settings in Malawi and given the workload at primary health care (PHC) setting level, little time is available to screen for mental disorders hence may go unrecognized. There is a possibility that a significant proportion of patients attending to primary care in Malawi may have common mental disorders (CMDs). Consequently, the possibility of misdiagnosis may lead to higher service utilization by people with common mental health problems.

3 Aim of the study The aim of the study was to evaluate health services utilization patterns of patients with CMDs in primary care clinics.

4 Methodology for study A cross-sectional quantitative survey was done among patients attending outpatient department at Matawale and Domasi Health Centre in Zomba in Sept & Oct The study included all consecutive patients aged 18 years and older who attended the primary health care clinics for any reason. Face-to-face interviews with the Self-Reporting Questionnaires (SRQ-20), PHC Encounter Forms and Health Service Utilization Forms were conducted in a sample of 323 primary health care attendees. Ethical approval was obtained from both the Health Research Ethics Committee at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and the College of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee, University of Malawi, Malawi

5 Results (1) The sociodemographic profiles of the participants revealed that majority of them were: in the age group 18-31(41.8%); females (74%); Christians (67%); married (65%); and unemployed (55%). The prevalence of probable CMD was 20.1%. People with CMD had a higher average number of health facility visits in the previous three months compared to those without probable CMD thus 1.6 vs (p-value 0.02).

6 Results (2) The total average number of both health facility and traditional healer visits were 1.68 vs (p-value 0.019), for people with probable CMD having a higher average compared to those without a probable CMD. It was found that people who have visited the health care facility repeatedly in the past 3 months were likely to be suffering from CMD. The odds of probable CMD increased with each visit to health facility by 1.27 (p-value=0.024). Almost all those who had probable CMD had no treatment prescribed for CMD by PHC clinicians.

7 Table 1. Pattern of use of health service among participants with probable common mental disorder and non-probable common mental disorder Average number of visits in past three months Probable CMDNon-probable CMD P value Average number of visits to health facility Average number of visits to traditional healer Total average number of visits to health facility and traditional healer

8 Table 2. Model on number of visit to health facility or traditional healer associated with probable common mental disorder Variable Probable CMD Step 1 a B WaldOR [Exp(B)]Sig. Number of times for Health Facility visit Number of times for Traditional Healers visit Constant <0.001

9 Discussion The prevalence of probable common mental disorders in this setting is similar to other findings from developing countries where the prevalence rate of mental common mental disorder ranges from 20 to 30% (Patel & Kleinman, 2003). The study found that people with probable common mental disorder had a higher average number of health facility visits in the previous three months compared to those without probable common mental disorder. A number of studies have established a relationship between frequent visit to primary health care to common mental disorders (Jacobi, Klose, & Wittchen, 2004; Kramer & Garralda, 2000; Tansella, 2005).

10 Discussion As in other studies, the study found a very low detection rate of mental disorder by PHC clinicians (Avasthi, et al., 2008; Badamgarav, et al., 2003; Licht- Strunk, et al., 2009; Ndetei, et al., 2009). This could be attributed to both patient and clinician factors –patients may not mention mental disorder symptoms to their clinician or clinicians may not ask about these symptoms, possibly through lack of knowledge or because of attitudinal issues, or because of high workloads.

11 Implications for research Further research to determine the nature and prevalence of CMDs in the community and in attendees of traditional healers, given the findings of the present study. Future research to investigate the awareness of mental health, the help seeking behaviour of patients with mental health problems in the community and the use of healthcare service in the community, in order to come up with evidence based mental health strategies.

12 Implications for research Given the likely influence of physical symptoms on the misdiagnoses of CMD, a qualitative study is imperative to explore whether non specific diagnoses may constitute proxies for expressing common mental disorder, or may be indicative of somatization. – As part of that study, diagnostic practices of clinicians could also be explored, examining whether clinicians use these categories to avoid diagnosing stigmatised common mental disorders.

13 Implications for policy and practice Improving patient outcomes and reducing re-attendances can be achieved through improved recognition of psychological symptoms. There is a need for primary health care workers to be refreshed periodically on identifying and treating common mental health disorders through continuing professional development programme (CPD). Intervention on patient disclosure could also be effective in assisting to improve clinician recognition hence there is need to direct efforts towards creating awareness about mental health and encourage patient disclosure of psychological or mental health issues.

14 Conclusion This study has revealed the magnitude of common mental disorder that is prevalent in the primary health care centres that goes unrecognized and untreated. The high utilization of health services suggests that there may be a large treatment gap in terms of mental health care in the primary care setting. The study also showed that the screening questionnaire for mental disorders could identify primary care patients who are at risk for common mental disorder and higher utilization.

15 Acknowledgement Prof. Leslie Swartz Dr. Felix Kauye Dr. Rob Stewart The Africa Focus on Intervention Research for Mental Health (AFFIRM) The Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP) Zomba Mental Hospital All the study participants


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