An International peer reviewed Journal PLOS One has published an article Health Service Utilization for Mental, Behavioral and Emotional Problems among Conflict-Affected Population in Georgia: A Cross-Sectional Study, authored by experts from the Curatio International Foundation, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and GIP-Tbilisi.
The article presents health care utilization patterns for mental, behavioral and emotional problems among the adult population in Georgia affected by 1990s and 2008 armed conflicts.
The study suggests that there is limited use of formal health services for mental health problems among this population. The factors identified by the study that prevent from use of services are financial access barriers, especially for drugs, self treatment, poor referral pathways between primary and specialized care, lack of perception about mental health problems among the population. The paper discusses possible ways to improve mental health services in Georgia.
Visit ResearchGate to read and download the article.
The project was implemented by CIF in collaboration with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) (Dr. Bayard Roberts, Professor Martin McKee, Professor Vikram Patel and Dr. Nino Makhashvili). The project was funded by Wellcome Trust (United Kingdom).
Aim of this research study is to deepen understanding of the extent to which community-based influences may help promote mental health (including alcohol use) amongst IDPs and returnees in Georgia. The study would provide rigorous evidence on the burden of depression, psychological distress, harmful alcohol use, and also coping strategies amongst IDPs and returnees in Georgia. This information could be used to help inform appropriate responses from governmental and nongovernmental agencies. This would be one of the first studies globally to specifically explore the way in which community factors may help promote the mental health of IDP and returnees.
A conference titled ”Mental health and conflict in Georgia: turning research into practice” will be held on September 12, 2013 at the Sheraton Metekhi Palace, Tbilisi.
The conference will present findings from the largest research project so far undertaken in Georgia on mental health among internally displaced persons and those who have returned to their permanent residence areas. The research was carried out by Curatio International Foundation, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Global Imitative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi. Conference participants and delegates will be from governmental institutions, donor agencies, embassies, civil society organisations, and academia.
‘We believe that the conference will provide important stimulus to addressing the neglected issue of mental health among the conflict–affected populations of Georgia.’-Ivditi Chikovani, CIF Program Manager says.
Throughout 2 weeks Curatio International Foundation will be hosting interns from Public Health School at John Hopkins University Sudit Ranade and Mollie Werlieb.
Having the opportunity to undertake internship at Curatio International Foundation for the first ever time, students are challenged and motivated to help the organization in analyzing the data from the Bio Behavioral Surveillance Survey for injection drug users and write the article for scientific journal submission.
Mollie Werlieb has an extensive NGO experience both in US and in former Soviet Union, specifically in Russia and Ukraine. Her particular interest lies in behavioral determinants of health and healthy life style. She seeks and hopes to learn more about health status of people in Georgia, explore people’s attitudes and ideas about health. Working on Injection Drug Users project is especially challenging since she hopes that they may develop some recommendations for effective intervention and have impact in elaborating adequate policy.
Sudit Ranade is the family physician in Canada and is doing his Masters in Public Health with the focus on international health and child health. This internship opportunity poses him the challenge to learn how organizations like CIF deal with large volumes of data and where do all these data go afterwards. “We are working to analyze all the data. We want the report to be applicable to increasing scientific knowledge but also have practical applications. It is challenging to see how organizations use this kind of data to potentially impact the world’s scenario”.
Through implementing the project: Strengthening Capacity of Civil Society for Promoting Research Evidence into Policy Development in Georgia, Curatio International Foundation aims to improve the skills of civil society representatives in developing policies that are a) evidence informed b) tailored to Georgia’s social, economic and cultural context, and c) responsive to public interest.
CIF intends to contribute to achieving this goal by allying two distinct networks of NGOs (The coalition of Georgian NGOs for “Transparency of Public Finance” and Georgian “Mental Health Coalition”) and strengthening their capacity in delivering evidence into policy process. Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) support this effort.
Knowing that the high quality research evidence is one of the critical preconditions for employing the evidence by policy makers into policy making CIF conducted the training in evidence search-acquisition. The objective of this training module was to enhance the abilities of the partner coalitions to successfully carry out analytical and research work by increasing capacity for accessing national and international sources of evidence (databases, scientific journals, grey literature repositories, governmental reports, internet etc.). The training was designed and provided by Mr.Levan Tsutskiridze, the President of the Association for International Relationships and helped participants to understand from where and how the needed evidence can be obtained; The module placed a special emphasis on provision of an instruction into harnessing the capacities of general and specialized internet search engines, better analysis of the information and more effective utilization of search data for research, informational or analytical purposes.
On December 16th Curatio International Foundation in partnership with UK-Georgia professional Network (UGPN) hosted policy club discussion on Mental Health policy issues.
The meeting focused on development of recommendations for the improvement of the existing mental health service provision system in the country, specifically, how services should be organized on a primary health care level, in hospitals and shelters.
The policy club discussion was organized in the framework of the “Strengthening Civil Society Capacity to Promote Research Evidence for Policy Development in Georgia” project aiming at building the skills of civil society organizations on improved provision of the evidence in policy making process. The project is implemented by the Curatio International Foundation with the financial support of Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).
Dr. Manana Sharashidze, the Chairman of the Georgian “Mental Health Coalition’ made a presentation that covered the issues like why mental health should be a priority policy issue for the government? Description of the current mental health system and problems deriving from this system; She also provided recommendations for the improvement and discussed expected results.
Mr. Nikoloz Pruidze, the Deputy Minister of the Minister of LHSA informed participants the Georgian Government’s recent policy decision that for 2010 Health filed becomes the priority direction for the Government of Georgia (GoG). The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA) in turn declared that mental health will be one of the top priorities for the MoLHSA. Therefore, Mr. Pruidze proposed to forge close cooperation around improving mental health system and the Ministry will appreciate very much relevant professional associations/experts input in it.
It was agreed that the mental health associations/experts widely using international experience will develop detailed recommendations for improvement of the mental health service provision, which will be discussed and agreed with the MoLHSA to modify existing metal health policy accordingly.
Trainings on Mental Health Financing conducted with the financial support of Adam Smith Foundation end successfully. 25 representatives from Mental Health NGOs, Association of psychiatrics, psychiatric coalition, ombudsmen office and media enjoyed an opportunity of gaining sound understanding of conceptual model of mental health financing. On June 9 the conclusive meeting following the series of trainings on Mental Health Financing was held. It summed up the experience gained during the training course by the participants, appraising effectiveness of the course, and analyzing results of the survey carried out on the previous meeting.
Trainings conducted during April 22- May 15 2008 were delivered by the highly qualified consultant trainer Dr. George Gotsadze. 25 representatives from Mental Health NGOs, Association of psychiatrics, psychiatric coalition, ombudsmen office and media enjoyed an opportunity of gaining sound understanding of conceptual model of mental health financing.
The course consisted of 4 comprehensive, interactive type trainings each of them increasing capacity of participants for advocating for the needs of mentally ill people through intense engagement with the government on public financial management.
Comparative analysis of local practices of mental health financing with this of selected European countries gave the rich landscape of sources and chains of mental health financing.
The evaluation questionnaire delivered at the end of the course proved the trainings highly informative and beneficial since they enabled organizations to fully realize their shortfalls and take actions for improving their performance.
This effort became possible in the framework of the project implemented by the Curatio International Foundation with the financial support of Adam Smith Foundation.