Developing mental health and psychosocial support interventions in an extremely resource poor context: a case example from Southern Sudan

The situation in Southern Sudan poses strong challenges for the development of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services. Local government structures are weak and the health care system is hardly functioning at the primary health care level in terms of human resource, infrastructure and medical equipment. To develop MHPSS in such a context requires a strong focus on capacity building of the local staff and awareness activities on the community level though participatory mechanisms. This article describes a programme in Yei River County in Southern Sudan that uses a public health framework, targeting different levels (individual, family and community), and includes both prevention and treatment. Despite the formidable challenges, the programme demonstrates that it is feasible to implement MHPSS activities in a resource poor, post conflict setting through a community based approach in which relief, rehabilitation and development are complementary.

Boniface, Duku; Khasim, Taban; Manikese, Joshua; Dijkman, Leo