In a show of much needed humanitarian effort, global medical organization, Médecins du Monde, has set Egypt well within its crosshairs, initiating a series of free, ongoing training courses in the widely under-served field of mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS).

As noble as it is ambitious, the new training project aims to properly align both principles of primary healthcare as well as mental health and psychosocial support services, with an emphasis on the significance of mental health care in the region. Continuing till the 29th of April for all primary healthcare (PHC), the training process is comprised of counseling skills, psychological first aid and the WHO’s mental health Gap Action programme (mhGAP). In addition, the initiative will be implemented in 12 PHC facilities around the Greater Cairo area, namely Cairo and Giza, and marks a significant milestone in MdM’s three-year mental health project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

“The ministry aims to include MHPSS because it is a global trend, recommended by the WHO. Therefore, the integration of MHPSS in PHC is imperative,"  said Ministry of Health representative and the Head of Disability Prevention directorate, Nahed El-Gharib. “We need to detect mental disorders, since they are associated with physical symptoms. Also the scarcity of psychiatrists, not only in Egypt but also worldwide, necessitates the mainstreaming of MHPSS.”

The benefits of proper MHPSS integration into the public healthcare network not only dramatically helps mitigate the litany of unchecked mental health issues plaguing the country, it also bolsters patients’ responsiveness to treatment, reducing hospital time and positively impacting early detection rates.

Médecins du Mond (Doctors of the World) was formally founded by French physician, Bernard Kouchner, along with 14 other doctors back in 1980. Kouchner was also the founder of Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders), but split to form MdM after feeling that MSF may have lost its way. MdM offers emergency medical care and long-term medical care to parts of the world that need it the most; operating in both the developed and the developing world, they actively extend their services to conflict areas, natural disaster zones and poverty stricken countries to name a few.

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