The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), through its Zambia Common Elements Study (ZCAP) study project, has trained 15 lay counsellors in the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA). The Counsellors were recruited from Matero and Kanyama level one (1) hospitals in Lusaka.
The training equipped the counsellors with skills to treat alcohol abuse problems and other mental health problems in HIV Health facilities in Zambia. The training was conducted by clinical experts from John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHU). In Addition, the team was trained in the Brief Intervention (BI) being the first group in the World to be trained in this intervention.
Speaking during a Course completion Certificate presentation ceremony for the Counsellors at Nomads Court Lodge in Lusaka, CIDRZ- ZCAP Project Coordinator Ms. Tukiya Kanguya said that her organisation decided to conduct the CETA training in order to try and bridge the gap in Mental Health which was being neglected in Zambia.
“CIDRZ was awarded two (2) large mental health grants for Scaling up-Trans diagnostic evidenced based Mental Health Care in Zambia. Mental Health CBT is an award from the National Institute of Mental Health at the United States National Institutes of Health (i.e., US government). This is the first ever and largest project for CIDRZ in the field of mental health. Mental health (which includes a broad array of conditions like trauma, anxiety, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse) are neglected in Zambia and expanding local capacity for treatment is a priority to improve the health and well-being of the Zambian people. To bridge this gap, the Zambia Common Elements Study (ZCAP) study focused on training 15 lay counsellors from Matero and Kanyama first level hospital in the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA)”, Ms. Kanguya said
She added that the trained counsellors offered CETA to 82 HIV patients in Lusaka that were struggling with alcohol abuse and different mental health problems. Furthermore, she said a total of 75 patients at Matero and Kanyama Level one (1) hospitals that where enrolled in the CETA program had successfully completed and overall retention in the program had been impressive.
“The trained counsellors graduated from the program and are now certified CETA counsellors. The Ministry of Health (MOH) are delighted that CIDRZ have trained skilled counsellors that would be able to treat various mental health problems. CIDRZ is planning to roll out this program to more HIV Health facilities in other provinces of the country”, Ms. Kanguya said.
And Matero Level one (1) Hospital Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) In-charge Sister Ireen Daka Nyirenda said, “We are really glad that CIDRZ brought CETA to the ART clinic. We have seen a substantial improvement in retention and adherence since the program started. We would want this program to continue and believe it will help us achieve the 90:90:90 goal.”