Question Despite mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders being highly prevalent, there is a worldwide gap between service need and provision. WHO launched its Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) in 2008, and the Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) in 2010. mhGAP-IG provides evidence-based guidance and tools for assessment and integrated management of priority MNS disorders in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), using clinical decision-making protocols. It targets a non-specialised primary healthcare audience, but has also been used by ministries, non-governmental organisations and academics, for mental health service scale-up in 90 countries. This review aimed to identify evidence to date for mhGAP-IG implementation in LMICs.
Study selection and analysis We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge/Web of Science, Scopus, CINAHL, LILACS, SciELO/Web of Science, Cochrane, Pubmed databases and Google Scholar for studies reporting evidence, experience or evaluation of mhGAP-IG in LMICs, in any language. Data were extracted from included papers, but heterogeneity prevented meta-analysis.
Findings We conducted a systematic review of evidence to date, of mhGAP-IG implementation and evaluation in LMICs. Thirty-three included studies reported 15 training courses, 9 clinical implementations, 3 country contextualisations, 3 economic models, 2 uses as control interventions and 1 use to develop a rating scale. Our review identified the importance of detailed reports of contextual challenges in the field, alongside detailed protocols, qualitative studies and randomised controlled trials.
Conclusions The mhGAP-IG literature is substantial, relative to other published evaluations of clinical practice guidelines: an important contribution to a neglected field.
- mental health
- international health services
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Funding GT acknowledges financial support from the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and Dementia Unit awarded to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. GT is supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) Emerald project.
Disclaimer The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the World Health Organization. GT is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South London at King’s College London NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Competing interests TD is a staff member of the World Health Organization.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Further details have been added to the Disclaimer and Funding statements.