AMARI: African PhD students connect online

31 January 2017

African PhD students connect online to share research

PhD students from three African countries connected via WebEx on 25th January 2017 for the first in a new international webinar series hosted by King’s College London.

The webinars are part of King’s support to the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), a Wellcome Trust-funded international capacity building program. AMARI aims to build an Africa-led network of researchers in Mental Health, Neurological and Substance Misuse (MNS) disorders.


The first webinar saw AMARI PhD fellows from Ethiopia, Malawi and Zimbabwe link via WebEx and present their research projects to the cohort before taking questions from each other.

Mekdes Demissie (Ethiopia) described her research to develop and pilot a psychosocial intervention for bipolar disorder in rural Ethiopia, where few people are correctly diagnosed and even fewer get access to appropriate care. The intervention will be designed for delivery by non-specialist healthcare staff. Mekdes’s research is supervised by Dr Abebaw Fekadu of Addis Ababa University, and co-supervised by Dr Charlotte Hanlon and Dr Rosie Mayston from King’s College London.

Kassahun Habtamu (Ethiopia) discussed his proposal to investigate the long-term economic outcomes of serious mental health disorders in Ethiopia. His study will examine the financial outcomes of mental ill-health for his cohort of patients with psychosis, including return to work. This will be included in an overall cost-effectiveness evaluation for treatment. Kassahun’s research is supervised by Dr Charlotte Hanlon with support from Professor Paul McCrone of King’s College London.

Primrose Nyamayaro (Zimbabwe) presented her project plan to research HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) in Zimbabwe. She plans to validate a screening tool and compare cognitive functioning in HIV-Positive adults with age-matched HIV-negative controls. This data will be used to assess the impact of HAND on functioning and quality of life in people living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

AMARI is jointly supported by King's College London (Dr Melanie Abas, Dr Charlotte Hanlon, Professor Martin Prince) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Ricardo Araya, Professor Helen Weiss), through the Centre for Global Mental Health. More details on AMARI can be found here.

AMARI is one of the Wellcome Trust's projects in the initiative for Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS). Further information on DELTAS can be found here.

For more information on AMARI please contact Program Manager Dr Chris Merritt.