Celebrate Healthy Mothers.
In Uganda and globally, high rates of depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses put pregnancies at risk for complications and young mothers for suicide. Lack of mental health leads to pre-term birth, and its complications on childhood development, in addition to low birth weight, malnutrition, disease and missed immunizations. Depressed women are less likely to breastfeed: a child who is breastfed is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child. Breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhea—two major child killers.
PCAF is implementing a ground-breaking project in 2017 to strengthen mental health among pregnant women and young mothers. The project is focused in post-conflict areas, starting in Northern and Eastern Uganda with plans to expand in 2018 in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. It builds on PCAF’s clinic and community programs, identifying women at risk for maternal depression and acting so they recover quickly.
By using a step-by-step approach, clinicians are freed up to deal with the most difficult cases and bring recovery to more and more patients. The project uses the simplest, lowest-cost solution first, determines if it has worked, and then offers more treatment if required. PCAF developed the project by engaging in community consultations to determine local needs and responded with evidence-based solutions, in this case, a first round of basic education and information and Group Interpersonal Therapy.
For as little as $28, PCAF is able to screen two pregnant women for depression, and can treat one woman for depression for only $56.