Celebrate Healthy Mothers.Celebrate Healthy Mothers.

The Context

In Uganda and globally, high rates of depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses put pregnancies at risk for complications and young mothers at risk for suicide. Lack of mental health leads to pre-term birth and its complications on childhood development, in addition to low birth weight, malnutrition, disease, and missed immunizations. Depressed women are less likely to breastfeed: a child who is breastfed is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child. Breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhea-two major child killers.

The Response

The Peter C. Alderman Program for Global Mental Health is implementing a ground-breaking project in 2017 to strengthen mental health among pregnant women and young mothers. The project is focused in post-conflict areas, starting in Northern and Eastern Uganda with plans to expand in 2018 in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. It builds on the Peter C. Alderman Program’s clinic and community programs, identifying women at risk for maternal depression and acting so they recover quickly.

The Approach

By using a step-by-step approach, clinicians are freed up to deal with the most difficult cases and bring recovery to more and more patients. The project uses the simplest, lowest-cost solution first, determines if it has worked, and then offers more treatment if required. The project was developed by engaging in community consultations to determine local needs and responding with evidence-based solutions, in this case, a first round of basic education and information and Group Interpersonal Therapy.