Mental Health GAP:Kashmir Project Nominated as Best in World

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SRINAGAR: Mental Health GAP(MhGAP) Kashmir project has been nominated by mental health and innovative network led by WHO ,Grand Challenges Canada and London School of Tropical Medicine as the best innovative project in the world . 

The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries especially with low- and middle-income. MhGAP Kashmir was chosen from more than 120 nominations submitted by more than 100 organizations from all around the world.

This was disclosed on the eve of world mental health day at WHO headquarters , Geneva.  

The meet was attended by. Dr Sayed. Aqeel Hussain who presented the findings of the mhGAP monitoring and evaluation project being carried out in District Ganderbal in collaboration between Health and Medical, Education Department Jammu and Kashmir and Royal College of. Psychiatrists,  London with support from WHO Geneva.

 Dr Sayed. Aqeel. Hussain Completed his training in United  Kingdom and returned to Kashmir in 2011. He was responsible for initiating and coordinating the mhGAP project in Kashmir at International level which has been going on for last three years .He received complete support from Dr. Mohd Muzaffar. Khan Director Police Deaddiction services Kashmir and state coordinator of project which led to the successful completion of the project.

In three training programmes  over three years in both primary and secondary care sector more than a dozen consultants from UK and other countries used WHO validated mhGAP manual to train more than 200 professionals which included doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, teachers, police personnels,lawyers and other professionals in the use of WHO validated manual to identify mental health cases,treat where possible and refer appropriately to secondary care level.

Following the training, a pilot project was started in District Ganderbal to see the effectiveness of mhGAP training in helping professionals identify, treat where possible and refer appropriately to secondary care settings which in turn would lead to reduction in gap between service need and service delivery the primary objective of mhGAP in developing countries. More than 50 doctors from 21 primary care centers participated in the project for more than 3 months and received online supervision by Consultants from UK using Kings college London supervision site.

This Kings College site was also used to complete another component of the project in which medical students of GMC Srinagar interacted with medical students of UK medical colleges and discussed various modules of mhGAP interactive guide

The data was collected by  Syed Owais who worked as a research fellow in the project for more than three months. The results were compiled and submitted to  Royal college of Psychiatrists and WHO which were validated and endorsed by WHO  resulting in mhGAP Kashmir being nominated as the best innovative project in the world .

 The training, monitoring and evaluation project design of mhGAP Kashmir will be used as a role model to conduct similar trainings around the world especially in developing countries.

 This will be followed by Training the trainers programme in which professionals who were part of mhGAP project will be trained in delivering mhGAP training and will then train various professionals from various districts of Kashmir

The whole project was facilitated by the signing of MOU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and Royal College of Psychiatrists London which was signed by then Commissioner/ Secretary, Health and Medical Education Mr Gazanfer. Hussain and Professor Sir Simon Wesley, President of the Royal. College of Psychiatrists London

 Dr Sayed Aqeel Hussain has also been nominated for the Royal College of Psychiatrists award in the category ‘volunteer psychiatrist of the year award ‘ for his work in Kashmir for which he is due to attend the award ceremony in London next month. Royal College of Psychiatrists awards are considered as the most prestigious awards in the field of psychiatry in the world.

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