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Type Journal Article - International Journal of Mental Health Systems
Title Research Mental health policy and development in Egypt-integrating mental health into health sector reforms 2001-9
Volume 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1752-4458-4-17.pdf
Background: Following a situation appraisal in 2001, a six year mental health reform programme (Egymen) 2002-7 was
initiated by an Egyptian-Finnish bilateral aid project at the request of a former Egyptian minister of health, and the work
was incorporated directly into the Ministry of Health and Population from 2007 onwards. This paper describes the aims,
methodology and implementation of the mental health reforms and mental health policy in Egypt 2002-2009.
Methods: A multi-faceted and comprehensive programme which combined situation appraisal to inform planning;
establishment of a health sector system for coordination, supervision and training of each level (national, governorate,
district and primary care); development workshops; production of toolkits, development of guidelines and standards;
encouragement of intersectoral liaison at each level; integration of mental health into health management systems;
and dedicated efforts to improve forensic services, rehabilitation services, and child psychiatry services.
Results: The project has achieved detailed situation appraisal, epidemiological needs assessment, inclusion of mental
health into the health sector reform plans, and into the National Package of Essential Health Interventions, mental
health masterplan (policy guidelines) to accompany the general health policy, updated Egyptian mental health
legislation, Code of Practice, adaptation of the WHO primary care guidelines, primary care training, construction of a
quality system of roles and responsibilities, availability of medicines at primary care level, public education about
mental health, and a research programme to inform future developments. Intersectoral liaison with education, social
welfare, police and prisons at national level is underway, but has not yet been established for governorate and district
levels, nor mental health training for police, prison staff and teachers.
Conclusions: The bilateral collaboration programme initiated a reform programme which has been sustained beyond
the end of the funding. The project has demonstrated the importance of using a multi-faceted and comprehensive
programme to promote sustainable system change, key elements of which include a focus on the use of rapid
appropriate treatment at primary care level, strengthening the referral system, interministerial and intersectoral liaison,
rehabilitation, and media work to mobilize community engagement.

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