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Past Activities

Report of the 2015 Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Training

mhGAP Contextualization Workshop in the Gambia

The Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme (mhLAP) activities kicked off in January 2010 with the setting up of the coordinating office at the Psychiatry Department, University of Ibadan and the resumption of the project coordinator.

Curriculum Development Workshop
The project first major activity was the hosting of the Training Curriculum Development Workshop at Ibadan between the 29th of March – 1st of April, 2010. The workshop was attended, among others by Prof. Harry Minas of the Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne, and Dr. Julian Eaton, CBM mental health regional adviser, West Africa.  The course outline developed includes the following:

1.  Burden and impact of mental and neurological disorders
2.  Barriers experienced by people with mental illness: knowledge, attitude and stigma, and human rights abuse.
3.  Economic and social costs of mental and neurological disorders
4.  Responding to the burden of mental and neurological disorders, with particular reference to low- and middle-income countries: scaling up service in budget-constrained settings
5.  Mental health within general health reforms
6.  Mental health legislation and policy formulation
7.  Addressing the needs of women and children
8.  Planning for special groups: refugees and homeless
9.  Design and implementation of community-based intervention programs
10. Advocacy skills: communicating with policy makers and the with the public on mental health issues

Mental Health Leadership Training
The maiden Mental Health Leadership and Advocating Training conducted by the WHO Collaborating for Research and Training in Mental Health Neurosciences and Substance Abuse and the Department of Psychiatry, UCH Ibadan in collaboration with The Centre For International Mental Health, University of Melbourne was held at the Davies Hotel, Adeyi Avenue, Ibadan from July 26-August 6, 2010.

The training course was based on current best evidence in the field of public health, it was designed for the African context, and attracted participants from Nigeria and Namibia (see appendix 1 for course time table).  The first annual 2-week training course ran from July 26 to August 6, 2010 at the Davies Hotel, Adeyi Avenue, Ibadan.  The training took the mode of lectures, discussions and group work with emphasis laid on group work. On the final date of the meeting, each participant made a five minute presentation on what they hope to have achieved in the next one year.

The training among others featured two external resource persons in the person of Prof. Harry Minas of the Centre for International Mental Health, the University of Melbourne and Prof. Rachel Jenkins of the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College. Others include senior persons from the Public Health department, Communication/Language Arts department and Psychiatrists.   The training was attended by 30 participants that include psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, NGOs executives and ministry officials.  3 of the participants came from Mozambique.

The 2011 edition of the training course was held at the same venue from May 23- June 3, 2011 with the active participation of external resource persons that include Prof. Rachel Jenkins of the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College and Dr. Alex Cohen of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Advocacy Workshop
The training course was followed by a 3-day workshop that held from August 9-11, 2010 and attended by the 3 participants from Mozambique, two psychiatrists and one social worker. The workshop was designed to develop specific plans of action for scaling-up service or advocacy.
The 2011 Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy workshop, a follow-up to the 2010 mental health leadership and advocacy training was also held at the Davies Hotel, Bodija, Ibadan between Wednesday, 1st of June and Friday, 3rd of June, 2011. The workshop was designed to review the activities of some of the participants at the 2010 training programme and brainstorm on the best approach for maximum impact. The workshop facilitators include Professor Oye Gureje, Dr Alex Cohen and Dr Julian Eaton. Although 10 participants were originally invited for the workshop from Nigeria and Ghana, 9 people attended the workshop.  Participants include 7 people from Nigeria and 2 from Ghana. The participants from Ghana include Peter Yaro, Country Program Manager, Basic Needs, Ghana and
Minatu Montana, President, MESHOG (Mental Health Society of Ghana), who were brought in specifically to share their first hand experience of an outreach service.

Curriculum Review Meeting
As part of effort to improve on the leadership training course, a one day curriculum review meeting was held on Friday, February 10, 2012 with past facilitators and participants as well as Dr. Alex Cohen of the London School of Hygiene in attendance. The meeting deliberated on the past training and made suggestions on ways of improving on the training curriculum.

Country facilitators meeting/briefing at Ibadan
A two-day meeting of all the country facilitators with the Programme Director and the co-ordinating office staff was held between 1st and 2nd March 2012.

Leadership Training 2012

The 2012 annual 2week Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Training was held at the Davies hotel, Ibadan from May 28-June 8, 2012. The training was attended by 25 participants that include ministry of health officials, health workers, university lecturers, mental health advocates and a user from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia, Niger Republic and Nigeria. The training was facilitated by the Project director, Prof. Gureje, Prof. Harry Minas of The Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne Australia, Dr. Julian Eaton and other seasoned professional from public health, Language and Communication Arts and Psychiatry. Judy Savage, the program officer for West Africa, CBM Australia was also around from 4-6 June.
As part of the social activities, provisions were made for interested participants to visit night clubs, the University Zoo, markets and other tourist sites in Ibadan, especially during the long weekend in between the training period.

Stakeholder’s workshop
The 3-day stakeholder’s workshop with participants from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia was held at the Davies hotel Ibadan from 6-8 June, 2012. Dr. Julian Eaton and Prof. Ajuwon of the Public Health department, University of Ibadan facilitated the workshop.
The workshop provided the forum for the participating countries representatives together with their country facilitators to design their plan of action for the next 12months under the guidance of Prof. Ajuwon of the department of health promotion, University of Ibadan.

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Comments on our Training

I have been an advocate for 3 years now but I have never been so equipped like I did with this training and it will go to show even in my work as a radio presenter, even in areas that are not Mental Health related.

Lamin K. Sanyang, The Gambia

“The training has made me a better presenter and producer. I have written down topics that could be discussed on my programme. I also plan to reach out to the president’s wife NGO on the issue of mental health through the advocacy skills I have learnt from the training and then produce jingles in between programmes on mental health

Fatima Hassan, Markudi, Nigeria


“I am grateful for this opportunity to come to Nigeria and be part of this training, I feel greatly empowered”

Boniface Chitayi, Kenya


“I have attended lots of training but this mhLAP training has more positive impact on me than all other trainings I have attended. I have learnt the skills I need to advocate for mental health issues. I plan to factor in mental health into the district work plan in Sierra Leone

Hannah Bockarie, Sierra Leone


“The course was a great awakening. I feel a great burden in my heart because I now realize that there is much work to be done. I plan to adopt two PHCs in Osun state and offer free psychiatrist ser

Opakunle Tolulope, Osun, Nigeria


‘It was a nice multicultural experience from different African countries and a means of networking. Thank you very much’

Roseline –A – Okoth, University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences, Kenya



‘The course was very interesting, informative, educative and very interactive. The application of group work after every lecture also facilitates practical applicability of all the lectures. I have learnt various multidimensional means of promoting, preventing and carrying out advocacy for many areas of mental health disorders. I congratulate the organizers for a great work’

Dr. A.O Coker

‘Exposure to mental health care perspectives from various countries has given me a well rounded perspective of mental health care in Africa’


Aneshrey Moodley,  Consultant psychiatrist, South Africa

‘I had a good experience both with the facilitators and co-participants. This is more in terms of the multidisciplinary approach to mental health issues. There was clear absence of over simplified assumptions for professional convenience (psychiatrists).’


Akpoju Ogbole Samuel, Programme Officer, Nigeria

‘Learning took place formally during the session and during the group work. Significant learning also took place during informal interaction out of session learning about the experiences in different country. I feel better equipped to function in the stakeholder council and also in my work as head of a faith based health need’


Walter Carew, Executive Director, (CHASL) Sierra Leone

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