CBM Global Supports Africa CDC’s Mental Health Leadership Programme

News | June 3, 2024

CBM Global is proud to collaborate with Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the African Mental Health Leadership Programme (MHLP), launched at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva. This initiative aims to address the significant gaps in mental health services across Africa, where only less than 10% of people with mental health conditions receive the care they need and an average of only 1.4 mental health workers serve every 100,000 people.

Michael Njenga, CBM Global Africa Mental Health Regional Advisor, speaks at the launch of the African Mental Health Leadership Programme in Geneva.
Michael Njenga, CBM Global Africa Mental Health Regional Advisor, speaks at the African Mental Health Leadership Programme launch in Geneva.

Background

With growing populations and more young people facing increasing pressures like unemployment, poverty and forced migration, psychological problems are expected to rise. Climate change also poses a growing threat to mental well-being. Despite these challenges, mental health has often been overlooked due to limited resources, competing health priorities, stigma, and lack of awareness.

Africa CDC’s first strategic plan focused on addressing the urgent crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and other outbreaks, the second strategic plan prioritises strengthening integrated health systems more broadly, including mental health. The MHLP aims to train a new generation of mental health leaders, able to confidently advocate for context-appropriate, evidence-based approaches to mental health, integrated into routine health care (especially primary health care) and accessing community support.

CBM Global’s Role

As a key partner, CBM Global will contribute its expertise in disability inclusion and mental health, focusing on promoting a human rights-based approach throughout the programme. This pillar of work will involve strengthening links between civil society organisations, including organisations of people with psychosocial disabilities and the government. We will also promote innovative programmes to address stigma, social exclusion, and abuse experienced by people with mental health conditions.

David Bainbridge, Executive Director of CBM Global, speaking at the event, emphasised the programme’s commitment to improving mental health policies and practices in Africa. He highlights that the MHLP can “make significant progress not only on the wide treatment gap in access to mental health services but also in applying good public health practice to reduce the drivers of mental health conditions and the negative impact on wellbeing.”

He also adds:

“We underscore the need to take a human rights approach to mental health, which means that, in addition to the personal suffering that results from the experience of mental health symptoms, we’re particularly concerned about the experiences of stigma, social exclusion, and abuse experienced by affected people, who are often denied access to basic rights like family life, livelihoods, even personal autonomy and freedom.”

Julian Eaton, Mental Health Director of CBM Global, says:

“The African Mental Health Leadership Programme is a major investment in transforming mental health service provision on the continent. CBM Global is proud to be working alongside Africa CDC to support a new generation of leaders who not only have the technical expertise in public mental health, but also are familiar with rights-based approaches to reform, to make services dignified, person-centred, and more effective.”

As the apex public health institution on the continent, Africa CDC is well placed to support member states by developing leaders who can use evidence-based practice to promote mental health and well being. CBM Global is committed to facilitate stronger leaders in civil society and within the disability movement, equipped to advocate for approaches that reflect the priorities of people who use services and wish to see more inclusive societies.

Back to News

Related News

CBM Global Executive Director advocates for disability rights at COSP17

David Bainbridge, Executive Director of CBM Global, presented our...

CBM Global General Debate Statement at COSP17

David Bainbridge, Executive Director of CBM Global, presented our general debate statement today, 11 June, at the Conference of...

Climate Finance must include communities most impacted by climate change

NEW YORK CITY, New York, June 10, 2024. At...