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Beneath the rhetoric: Policy to reduce the mental health treatment gap in Africa

COOPER, Sara
2015

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In this paper I problematize knowledge on reducing the ‘gap’ in treatment produced by 14 national mental health policies in Africa. To contextualize this analysis, I begin with a historic-political account of the emergence of the notion of primary health care and its entanglement within decolonization forces of the 1960s. I unpack how and why this concept was subsequently atrophied, being stripped of its more revolutionary sentiments from the 1980s. Against this backdrop, I show how, although the 14 national mental health policies are saturated with the rhetoric of primary health care and associated concepts of community participation and ownership, in practice they tend to marginalize local meaning-systems and endorse a top-down framework heavily informed by colonial medicine. The policies thus end up reproducing many of the very Eurocentric assumptions that the original primary health care notion sought to transcend. More specifically, the paradigms of evidence-based research/practice and individualised human rights become the gatekeepers of knowledge. These two paradigms, which are deeply embedded within contemporary global mental health discourse, are legislating what are legitimate forms of knowing, and by extension, valid forms of care. I argue that a greater appreciation of the primary health care concept, in its earliest formulation, offers a potentially fruitful terrain of engagement for developing more contextually-embedded and epistemologically appropriate mental health policies in Africa. This in turn might help reduce the current ‘gap’ in mental health care treatment so many countries on the continent face.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 3

Applied research on disability in Africa : general mapping

INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION OF APPLIED DISABILITY RESEARCH (FIRAH)
2014

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“The goal of this literary review is to report on existing knowledge about applied research on the African continent, regarding the living conditions of people with disabilities, poverty, violence and sexual abuse especially regarding children and women with disabilities, community-based rehabilitation and employment”

Monitoring child disability in developing countries : results from the multiple indicator cluster surveys

UNITED NATIONS CHILDRENS FUND (UNICEF)
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
2008

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Using the ten question screen for children with disability in the multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) in 20 countries, this report aims "to raise awareness and thereby both prevent new cases of child disability when that is possible and ensure protection and inclusion for children with disabilities. The findings presented in this publication provide decision-makers with basic information from a number of diverse countries that can be used to determine priorities related to child disability, including the prevention of childhood disabilities, the early detection of disorders leading to disability, and the timely provision of medical-rehabilitation services and comprehensive support to families with children with disabilities"

Gender and ICTs for development : a global sourcebook

VALK, Minke
CUMMINGS, Sarah
VAN DAM, Henk
Eds
2005

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This book aims to document and analyse emerging experiences in the field of gender, ICT and develoment, and addresses policy, programmatic and theoretical issues and debates. Case studies explore the use of satellites, mobile telephones, wireless networks and applications such as Internet, email, distance learning, teleworking, digital radio and video. Some conclusions from the case studies are that: ICTs are not gender-neutral, because women seek to use them to break out of systematic discrimmination, and even gender violence; women use ICTs transform low-tech projects into more strategic initiatives that address gender inequities; links to policy and control of communication networks, of both new and conventional media are evident. The editors argue that there is a need to go beyond simply "women and technology" to focus on gender relations in communication and learning

Mapping malaria risk in Africa

MAPPING MALARIA RISK IN AFRICA / ATLAS DU RISKE DE LA MALARIA EN AFRIQUE (MARA/ARMA)
December 2004

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This site presents maps of malaria risk and endemicity (the presence of malaria) in Africa, drawing on published and unpublished data, and through spatial modelling of malaria distribution, seasonality and endemicity. Many factors, especially endemicity, affect the choice of control methods. In the absence of such data it is impossible to rationalize the allocation of limited resources for malaria control. This site presents an opportunity to rethink endemicity and how we may map malaria risk in order to better support planning and programming of malaria control

The Africa campaign on disability and HIV & AIDS

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The Africa Campaign is a unifying umbrella under which disabled people's organisations, organisations of people living with HIV & AIDS, non-governmental organisations, AIDS services organisations, researchers, activists, and other citizens work collectively to achieve two main objectives: a coordinated response involving persons with disabilities in African countries to achieve inclusive national HIV & AIDS policies and programmes; and equal access for persons with disabilities in Africa to information and services on HIV & AIDS. This website contains information about the campaign and key documents

African Palliative Care Association

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Palliative care is seen as a vital component in the care of people with progressive, life-limiting illnesses (including HIV/AIDS). The Africa Palliative Care Association works to promote and support affordable and culturally appropriate palliative care throughout Africa, including to orphans and vulnerable children

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