Friendship Bench project funded by MRC

12 Jul 2018

Professor Ricardo Araya, King’s College London, has been awarded a grant co-funded by the MRC and NIHR, for the Friendship Bench project based in Zimbabwe. This study; ’Optimising implementation strategies of the scale-up of a primary care psychological intervention: The Friendship Bench’, will build on a previous RCT which showed that the Friendship Bench (FB) is the first effective psychological treatment programme in primary care to be tested so far in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The FB uses a brief psychological approach based on problem-solving therapy and carried out by lay health workers with supervision by a more experienced mental health worker. The FB was scaled up to 72 clinics in and around Harare about one year ago. This study aims to evaluate the scaling-up so far and to identify the factors that have influenced the outcome of the implementation of the FB with a view to design an enhanced facilitation intervention to improve the implementation in clinics that have not performed so well. It will use well-known implementation science frameworks to guide the work.

The study will start in July 2018 and run for three years. Co-Investigators include; Dr Dixon Chibanda and Ruth Verhey from the University of Zimbabwe, Dr Andrew Healey from King’s College London, and Dr Bradley Wagenaar from University of Washington.