The World Health Organization Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) initiative was introduced in 2008 by the WHO, and incorporates evidence-based guidelines on managing mental, neurological, and substance abuse disorders in the primary care setting by non-specialist healthcare workers working in low resource settings in low- and middle-income countries. This training programme was conducted as part of the Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana’s SHARE fellowship project titled: “An intervention to improve mental health care for conflict-affected forced migrants in low-resource primary care settings: a WHO MhGAP-based pilot study in Sri Lanka (COM-GAP)”
Primary care physicians from three districts: Puttalam, Vavuniya, and Jaffna were invited to participate free of charge. The training programme was held in the Vavuniya Regional Director of Health Service’s conference room. Each participant was given a copy of the mhGAP intervention guide which is an invaluable tectechnical tool developed by WHO to assist in implementation of mhGAP programme.
The training programme lasted 3 days from 19th to 21st December. Resource persons included Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana who has been trained in the mhGAP programme in the UK, and Dr Buddhika Abeyrathna (Senior Registrar in Psychiatry). Certificates of participation were awarded to all participants by the Dr.M.Mahendran (RDHS, Vavuniya).