October 10th, 2014 – Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada announced new funding for 11 innovative ideas to improve mental health in developing countries. The 11 projects announced today are the result of a worldwide call for proposals for bold ideas with real-world impact and the potential to scale up.
The innovators address critical challenges in low-resource settings, e.g., integrating screening and services into routine primary healthcare, improving the supply of effective medications, developing IT technologies to increase access to care and improving affordable, community-based care and rehabilitation.
Interactive Research and Development is a proud recipient of Grand Challenges seed funding to implement a community based program to accelerate diagnosis and treatment of mental health.
Depression is the most frequently encountered mental health disorder in Pakistan. Due to the stigma associated with mental health diseases, those who suffer often remain undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated. There is an urgency to develop new interventions to increase early detection and treatment of mental illness, especially in the case of disease co-morbidity.
The widespread use of mobile phones provides a unique opportunity for the implementation of mHealth in Pakistan, allowing cost-effective, efficient and integrated screening and detection, analysis and follow-up in a context of high patient volumes.
This project will focus on three community-based lung health centres in Karachi, a city with an estimated population of 20 million. Community Mental Health Workers (CMHWs) will use an mHealth application to mass screen for depression and anxiety, and will be trained to provide basic counselling support to those in need. The mHealth system will include an interactive Short Message Service (SMS) delivery tool to provide support messages for positive mental health to all individuals screened.
Combining health technology innovations with on ground implementation expertise- IRD focuses to continuously reimagine the way we tackle global healthcare and create a better future for vulnerable populations.