AFFIRM: AFrica Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health

AFFIRM is a hub for research and capacity development to improve the delivery of cost effective interventions for mental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. There is growing international consensus that a task shifting approach is required in LMICs in which low-cost interventions are delivered by general health workers, supervised by mental health specialists, through routine health care delivery systems. At the same time, mental health research capacity and infrastructure in Africa are extremely limited, with little dedicated funding, a scarcity of trained mental health research personnel, a dearth of infrastructural support, and few opportunities for training and supervision in mental health research. Through collaborations in five African countries: South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia, AFFIRM aims to

1) investigate strategies for narrowing the mental health treatment gap in sub-Saharan Africa;

2) build individual and institutional capacity for intervention research in sub-Saharan Africa;

3) establish a network of collaboration between researchers, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice; and,

4) collaborate with other regional NIMH hubs. AFFIRM will bring together a range of multi-disciplinary researchers, policy makers and NGO practitioners, and build on previous partnerships, such as the Mental Health and Poverty Project, with a focus on empirically testing innovative models of task shifting in low resource primary health care settings.