Strengthening primary care to address mental and neurological disorders
AbstractWHO estimates that even though millions of people suffer from mental, neurological, behavioural or substance use disorders, only a fraction of these patients, particularly those in rural and remote areas, are getting appropriate medical care. Evidence for the limited outreach of the existing model of care for mental and neurological disorders is the huge treatment gap (defined as the percentage of patients in need of, but not receiving appropriate medical care), which ranges from 87 to 95% for patients with epilepsy and 25 to 98% for patients with psychosis, based on studies carried out in the Region. The WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia has therefore been working with regional experts on a strategy to improve access to appropriate care for persons with mental and neurological disorders. The strategy calls for empowering the existing primary health-care delivery systems in Member States to identify and manage the most common and disabling of these disorders. Such care can be provided at the doorstep of the patient, thus making it readily available, accessible and acceptable. This model has been tested in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Timor-Leste and found to be very effective in reducing the treatment gap to a fraction of what it was.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2013). Strengthening primary care to address mental and neurological disorders. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205937