PRIME project administers Community Advisory Board Meeting

The PRIME project running under the auspices of the Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences of Addis Ababa University has hosted Community Advisory Board Meeting to hear and evaluate its 6 month performance of the project operating in Sodo District of the Gurage Zone.   The project has been working with the district and the Ministry of Health to establish mental health care in the district for the last five years.

One of the three core objectives of higher institutions is community services. In line with this objective, the PRIME-Ethiopia project launched a complex intervention program in 2003 EC to establish a mental health service in the Sodo District of the Gurage Zone. The service is now becoming a model not only for providing integrated mental health services but may also be used as a model for providing care for non-communicable diseases. The PRIME—Ethiopia project is now serving 180, 000 people of the district. PRIME supported training and supervision of frontline health workers, who are now responsible for running the day to day service, community mobilization and engagement with the key social and political decision making bodies of the district and the health system hierarchy. The service also includes community based rehabilitation for people with schizophrenia who have insufficient response to medication and facility based care through the RISE project (supported by the Wellcome Trust). Persons with psychosis, depression, epilepsy, suicide attempt, alcohol use disorder, and pregnant women and breast feeding women with mental health needs are incorporated in this project. The project provides its service at 9 health facilities: 8 health centers and 1 primary hospital. The service also involves the 54 rural health posts. The project is now preparing to scale up services for 1.3 million people of the population of the Gurage zone.

Presenting its 6 month report and over all activities of the project, Dr. Abebaw Fekadu, Principal Investigator of PRIME-Ethiopia, explained that almost all expected to receive care for epilepsy and severe mental disorders in the district are identified and receiving care. He added that the in the last five years the woreda has been closely working with this project and that care provision is transitioning fully to the woreda to ensure sustainability. Numerous members of the Community Advisory Board gave testimonials of their experiences of the transformation of many lives through the project, including those who were homeless because of mental illness. The contribution of the community to support those with mental illness was also exemplary. Ato Feleke Asfaw, Head, Health Office of the Sodo district on his part said that the project has saved lives of hundreds of people suffering from mental disorders providing treatment and home to home follow up and that the woreda will take all responsibilities to sustain the project in the near future.


Apart from benefiting the local community, the project fosters research capacity. Currently, 12 PhD students are undertaking their dissertation research linked to PRIME. The program was held at Tabor Oda Hotel, Sodo District on March 27, 2016. Presents were the members of the Community Advisory Board, Woreda health office head and deputy head, health facility workers, focal persons, and PRIME project team.

PRIME is a consortium of research institutions and Ministries of Health in five countries in Asia and Africa (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda), with partners in the UK and the World Health Organization (WHO). PRIME is supported by the UK government’s Department for International Development motivated by the ‘treatment gap’ in Low and Middle Income Countries.