Development and scaling up of a psychological intervention for common mental disorders among people living with HIV in Zimbabwe

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Common mental disorders (CMD) which primarily include depression, anxiety disorders and mixed anxiety depression are leading causes of disability in sub-Saharan Africa. They are particularly common in people living with HIV (PLWH) and may hasten HIV disease progression. This thesis consists of 5 articles which have been submitted for publication and provide evidence on the requirements for developing a psychological intervention to be delivered by lay health workers (LHW) and a strategy for scaling up this intervention to over 50 primary health care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe. The thesis formed part of formative research leading to a cluster randomized controlled trial(RCT) of a psychological intervention and provides supplementary research to the RCT to support the scale up of the intervention. The first chapter describes the magnitude of the problem and the lack of resources to reduce the treatment gap for CMD. It highlights the growing evidence of using Lay Health Workers (LHW) to reduce this treatment gap.