Tech4Life Enterprises, alongside its partners, Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan, University of Calgary and Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) Afghanistan, highlighted the results of mental health project at the dissemination workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 3, 2017.
The event was organized at Kabul Serena Hotel to disseminate successful findings of the mental health project implemented by the means of eHealth (Information and Communication Technology use in health) in Badakshan Province of Afghanistan. Senior government officials from Ministry of Public Health, civil society, international development agencies and media participated in the event. The Internal evaluation was conducted by AKHS Afghanistan and Tech4Life Enterprises, while External evaluation was done by Eureka Research.
The eHealth Project was designed to strengthen mental health system in the province with the objectives of improving awareness in the community about mental health issues, reduce stigma, build capacity of health practitioners, and improve referrals for young adults.
The project conducted over 500 sessions to improve awareness in the community, along with sending more than 20,000 text messages targeting young adults aged 18-25 years old. The project also focused on skills and knowledge development of healthcare providers through applying blended learning techniques and providing access to interactive guidelines. These guidelines helped workers screen high risk patients in remote areas suffering from mental health disorders and refer the triaged individuals more quickly to facility-based providers based at the district and provincial level centers. The project also used Telemedicine to provide mental health treatment in the rural areas of Badakshan. About 200 health providers regularly used the mobile application to perform about 3,000 screenings and 600 referrals of mental health patients.
The mHealth solutions developed by Tech4Life Enterprises included the apps for using protocols, conducting blended learning, and enabling telemedicine consultations through MDConsults. The applications were simple to use and available in local languages, which was highly appreciated. The workshop was attended by a large number of public, private and international health organizations, who also explored ways of collaboration for improving healthcare in Afghanistan.
The project successfully demonstrated the use of eHealth on mental health among young adults in Afghanistan through awareness building, training of community health providers, screening of mental health patients, and conducting online consultations with health providers.