A process evaluation exploring the lay counsellor experience of delivering a task shared psycho-social intervention for perinatal depression in Khayelitsha, South Africa

Journal Article


Journal Title

BMC Psychiatry

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central


University of Cape Town

Background: Task sharing of psycho-social interventions for perinatal depression has been shown to be feasible, acceptable and effective in low and middle-income countries. This study conducted a process evaluation exploring the perceptions of counsellors who delivered a task shared psycho-social counselling intervention for perinatal depression in Khayelitsha, Cape Town together with independent fidelity ratings. Methods: Post intervention qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with six counsellors from the AFrica Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM-SA) randomised controlled trial on their perceptions of delivering a task shared psycho-social intervention for perinatal depression. Themes were identified using the framework approach and were coded and analysed using Nvivo v11. These interviews were supplemented with fidelity ratings for each counsellor and supervision notes. Results: Facilitating factors in the delivery of the intervention included intervention related factors such as: the content of the intervention, ongoing training and supervision, using a counselling manual, conducting counselling sessions in the local language (isiXhosa) and fidelity to the manual; counsellor factors included counsellors’ confidence and motivation to conduct the sessions; participant factors included older age, commitment and a desire to be helped. Barriers included contextual factors such as poverty, crime and lack of space to conduct counselling sessions and participant factors such as the nature of the participant’s problem, young age, and avoidance of contact with counsellors. Fidelity ratings and dropout rates varied substantially between counsellors. Conclusion: These findings show that a variety of intervention, counsellor, participant and contextual factors need to be considered in the delivery of task sharing counselling interventions. Careful attention needs to be paid to ongoing supervision and quality of care if lay counsellors are to deliver good quality task shared counselling interventions in under-resourced communities. Trial registration: Clinical Trials: NCT01977326, registered on 24/10/2013; Pan African Clinical Trials Registry: PACTR201403000676264, registered on 11/10/2013.