• Against the Odds: Psychomotor Development of Children Under 2 years in a Sudanese Orphanage.

      Espié, E; Ouss, L; Gaboulaud, V; Candilis, D; Ahmed, K; Cohuet, S; Baubet, T; Grais, R; Moro, M-R; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Oxford Journals, 2011-01-06)
      Providing abandoned children the necessary medical and psychological care as possible after their institutionalization may minimize developmental delays. We describe psychomotor development in infants admitted to an orphanage in Khartoum, Sudan, assessed at admission and over an 18-month follow-up. Psychological state and psychomotor quotients were determined using a simplified Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (NBAS), the Brunet-Lezine and Alarm distress baby (ADBB) scale. From May-September 2005, 151 children were evaluated 2, 4, 9, 12 and 18 months after inclusion. At admission, ∼15% of children ≤1 month had a regulation impairment according to the NBAS, and 33.8% presented a distress state (ADBB score >5). More than 85% (129/151) recovered normal psychomotor development. The results of the program reinforce the importance of early detection of psychological disorders followed by rapid implementation of psychological case management to improve the development of young children in similar institutions and circumstances.
    • Brief mental health interventions in conflict and emergency settings: an overview of four Medecins Sans Frontieres -- France programs

      Coldiron, M E; Llosa, A E; Roederer, T; Casas, G; Moro, M-R (BioMed Central, 2013-11-01)
      Mental health problems, particularly anxiety and mood disorders, are prevalent in the setting of humanitarian emergencies, both natural and man-made disasters. Evidence regarding best strategies for therapeutic interventions is sparse. Medecins Sans Frontieres has been providing mental health services during emergencies for over two decades, and here we compare data from four programs.Program Overview: In China, 564 patients were followed for an average of 7 sessions after a major earthquake. The most common diagnoses were PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Between program entry and exit, the median global assessment of functioning increased from 65 to 80. At program entry, 58% were considered moderately, markedly or severely ill; a proportion which fell to 14% at program exit. In Colombia in the setting of chronic violence, 2411 patients were followed for a median of two sessions. Anxiety disorders and major depression were the most common diagnoses, and 76% of patients were moderately or severely ill at program entry. 91% had symptomatic improvement at program exit. In Gaza, 1357 patients were followed for a median of 9 sessions; a majority was under age 15. PTSD and other anxiety disorders were the most common diagnoses, and 91% were moderately or severely ill at entry. 89% had improved symptoms at program exit. In the West Bank, the 1478 patients had similar characteristics to those enrolled in Gaza. 88% were moderately or severely ill at entry; 88% had improved at exit.Discussion and evaluation: It was feasible to implement brief yet effective mental health interventions in a wide variety of humanitarian contexts -- post-natural disaster, during acute violent conflict and during chronic violent conflict. The most common diagnoses were PTSD, other anxiety disorders and mood disorders. The use of local specially-trained counselors who were focused on coping skills and improving functionality over a brief time period, likely contributed to the symptomatic improvement seen in a large majority of patients across the four sites.
    • Characteristics of the Colombian armed conflict and the Mental Health of civilians living in active conflict zones

      Bell, V; Méndez, F; Martínez, C; Palma, P P; Bosch, M; Médicos sin Fronteras España, Misión Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia. msfe-bogota-cg@barcelona.msf.org. (2012-11-21)
    • Clinical supervision for counsellors in areas of armed conflict

      van der Veer, G; de Jong, K; Lansen, J; MSF (Intervention, 2004)
      This article describes clinical supervision of counsellors as a structured process that encompasses emotional support, education and monitoring of professional performance. It is based on the experiences of the authors while supervising counsellors with limited professional education in areas of armed conflict.
    • The Colombian conflict: a description of a mental health program in the Department of Tolima.

      Sanchez-Padilla, E; Casas, G; Grais, R; Hustache, S; Moro, M-R; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011, Paris, France. (2009-12)
      Colombia has been seriously affected by an internal armed conflict for more than 40 years affecting mainly the civilian population, who is forced to displace, suffers kidnapping, extortion, threats and assassinations. Between 2005 and 2008, Médecins Sans Frontières-France provided psychological care and treatment in the region of Tolima, a strategic place in the armed conflict. The mental health program was based on a short-term multi-faceted treatment developed according to the psychological and psychosomatic needs of the population. Here we describe the population attending during 2005-2008, in both urban and rural settings, as well as the psychological treatment provided during this period and its outcomes.We observed differences between the urban and rural settings in the traumatic events reported, the clinical expression of the disorders, the disorders diagnosed, and their severity. Although the duration of the treatment was limited due to security reasons and access difficulties, patient condition at last visit improved in most of the patients. These descriptive results suggest that further studies should be conducted to examine the role of short-term psychotherapy, adapted specifically to the context, can be a useful tool to provide psychological care to population affected by an armed conflict.
    • A comparison of narrative exposure therapy, supportive counseling, and psychoeducation for treating posttraumatic stress disorder in an african refugee settlement.

      Neuner, F; Schauer, M; Klaschik, C; Karunakara, U; Elbert, T; Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany. frank.neuner@uni-konstanz.de (2004-08)
      Little is known about the usefulness of psychotherapeutic approaches for traumatized refugees who continue to live in dangerous conditions. Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is a short-term approach based on cognitive-behavioral therapy and testimony therapy. The efficacy of narrative exposure therapy was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. Sudanese refugees living in a Ugandan refugee settlement (N = 43) who were diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) either received 4 sessions of NET, 4 sessions of supportive counseling (SC), or psychoeducation (PE) completed in 1 session. One year after treatment, only 29% of the NET participants but 79% of the SC group and 80% of the PE group still fulfilled PTSD criteria. These results indicate that NET is a promising approach for the treatment of PTSD for refugees living in unsafe conditions.
    • Conflict in the Indian Kashmir Valley I: exposure to violence.

      de Jong, K; Ford, N; Kam, S; Lokuge, K; Fromm, S; van Galen, R; Reilley, B; Kleber, R; Médecins Sans Frontières, Plantage Middenlaan 14, 1018 DD Amsterdam, the Netherlands. kaz.de.jong@amsterdam.msf.org. (2008-10-14)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: India and Pakistan have disputed ownership of the Kashmir Valley region for many years, resulting in several conflicts since the end of partition in 1947. Very little is known about the prevalence of violence and insecurity in this population. METHODS: We undertook a two-stage cluster household survey in two districts (30 villages) of the Indian part of Kashmir to assess experiences with violence and mental health status among the conflict-affected Kashmiri population. The article presents our findings for confrontations with violence. Data were collected for recent events (last 3 months) and those occurring since the start of the conflict. Informed consent was obtained for all interviews. RESULTS: 510 interviews were completed. Respondents reported frequent direct confrontations with violence since the start of conflict, including exposure to crossfire (85.7%), round up raids (82.7%), the witnessing of torture (66.9%), rape (13.3%), and self-experience of forced labour (33.7%), arrests/kidnapping (16.9%), torture (12.9%), and sexual violence (11.6%). Males reported more confrontations with violence than females, and had an increased likelihood of having directly experienced physical/mental maltreatment (OR 3.9, CI: 2.7-5.7), violation of their modesty (OR 3.6, CI: 1.9-6.8) and injury (OR 3.5, CI: 1.4-8.7). Males also had high odds of self-being arrested/kidnapped (OR 8.0, CI: 4.1-15.5). CONCLUSION: The civilian population in Kashmir is exposed to high levels of violence, as demonstrated by the high frequency of deliberate events as detention, hostage, and torture. The reported violence may result in substantial health, including mental health problems. Males reported significantly more confrontations with almost all violent events; this can be explained by higher participation in outdoor activities.
    • Conflict in the Indian Kashmir Valley II: psychosocial impact.

      de Jong, K; van der Kam, S; Ford, N; Lokuge, K; Fromm, S; van Galen, R; Reilley, B; Kleber, R (2008-10-14)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: India and Pakistan have disputed ownership of the Kashmir Valley region for many years, resulting in high level of exposure to violence among the civilian population of Kashmir (India). A survey was done as part of routine programme evaluation to assess confrontation with violence and its consequences on mental health, health service usage, and socio-economic functioning. METHODS: We undertook a two-stage cluster household survey in two districts of Kashmir (India) using questionnaires adapted from other conflict areas. Analysis was stratified for gender. RESULTS: Over one-third of respondents (n=510) were found to have symptoms of psychological distress (33.3%, CI: 28.3-38.4); women scored significantly higher (OR 2.5; CI: 1.7-3.6). A third of respondents had contemplated suicide (33.3%, CI: 28.3-38.4). Feelings of insecurity were associated with higher levels of psychological distress for both genders (males: OR 2.4, CI: 1.3-4.4; females: OR 1.9, CI: 1.1-3.3). Among males, violation of modesty, (OR 3.3, CI: 1.6-6.8), forced displacement, (OR 3.5, CI: 1.7-7.1), and physical disability resulting from violence (OR 2.7, CI: 1.2-5.9) were associated with greater levels of psychological distress; for women, risk factors for psychological distress included dependency on others for daily living (OR 2.4, CI: 1.3-4.8), the witnessing of killing (OR 1.9, CI: 1.1-3.4), and torture (OR 2.1, CI: 1.2-3.7). Self-rated poor health (male: OR 4.4, CI: 2.4-8.1; female: OR 3.4, CI: 2.0-5.8) and being unable to work (male: OR 6.7, CI: 3.5-13.0; female: OR 2.6, CI: 1.5-4.4) were associated with mental distress. CONCLUSIONS: The ongoing conflict exacts a huge toll on the communities' mental well-being. We found high levels of psychological distress that impacts on daily life and places a burden on the health system. Ongoing feelings of personal vulnerability (not feeling safe) were associated with high levels of psychological distress. Community mental health programmes should be considered as a way reduce the pressure on the health system and improve socio-economic functioning of those suffering from mental health problems.
    • Counselling in humanitarian settings: a retrospective analysis of 18 individual-focused non-specialised counselling programmes

      Shanks, L; Ariti, C; Siddiqui, R; Pintaldi, G; Venis, S; de Jong, K; Denault, M (BioMed Central, 2013-09-16)
      Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) provides individual counselling interventions in medical humanitarian programmes in contexts affected by conflict and violence. Although mental health and psychosocial interventions are a common part of the humanitarian response, little is known about how the profile and outcomes for individuals seeking care differs across contexts. We did a retrospective analysis of routine programme data to determine who accessed MSF counselling services and why, and the individual and programmatic risk factors for poor outcomes.
    • The efficacy of a mental health program in Bosnia-Herzegovina: impact on coping and general health.

      Mooren, T T M; de Jong, K; Kleber, R J; Ruvic, J; De Vonk, Centrum '45, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. T.Mooren@Centrum45.nl (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003-01)
      The efficacy of a community-based psychosocial program in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war and immediate postwar years (1994-1999) was described in this article. Ten centers provided various kinds of psychological help in the besieged city of Sarajevo and the towns of Zenica, Travnik, and Vitez. Since 1994, an intensive monitoring system has documented data on clients, interventions, and outcomes. This study focused on the systematic evaluation of counseling interventions aimed to alleviate the distress in wartime. The sample consisted of 3,283 and 1,785 inhabitants of Sarajevo, Zenica, Travnik, and Vitez who filled out the GHQ-28 and IES respectively. Pre- and post-assessments were compared throughout consecutive years (1994-1999) and across age groups and both sexes. Outcomes of these scales reflected very high scores, especially among people between 30 and 40 years of age. Furthermore, intake scores increased in time rather than decreased. Differences between pre- and postmeasurements are highly significant--throughout the years. Analyses revealed substantial proportions of clinically recovered or generally improved individual functioning, although some clients revealed no improvement.
    • The Efficacy of Psychosocial Interventions for Adults in Contexts of Ongoing Man-Made Violence—A Systematic Review

      Jong, K d; Knipscheer, J W; Ford, N; Kleber, R J (Scientific Research Publishing, 2014-03-31)
      Compared to psychosocial programs implemented in post-conflict settings those executed in areas of ongoing conflicts may have different effects. Their evidence of efficacy has never been systematically reviewed. We searched PubMed, PsychInfo and the Dutch Tropical Institute Literature Portal from inception to31 January 2013 to identify studies on community-oriented psychosocial and psychiatric/clinical services for adults during ongoing man-made conflict or its direct aftermath.Of 6358 articles screened, 16 met our inclusion criteria. The interventions varied from psycho-educational to psychotropic drugs. The review is presented using outcome indicators such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, physical health, functioning and well being. A substantial improvement of some outcome was found though the small number of studies and their heterogeneity did not justify strong conclusions. PTSD symptoms improved significantly by treatments that included exposure (such as narrative exposure therapy). A number of studies (eight) showed notable improvement of the client’s functioning through counseling interventions. Depression and anxiety both improved considerably using that culturally adapted interventions (two studies), whereas non-culturalized interventions did not. We found a notable lack of studies on the efficacy of medication and on preferred western, evidence-based interventions for PTSD such Eye Movement Desensitization.To measure outcomes only two studies applied locally-developed diagnostic labels and validated instruments. Future research should encourage the use of robust research methods that are culturally valid, including mixed-methods research to combine measurable outputs with qualitative research aimed at improved understanding from the client’s perspective.
    • Emergency conflict-related psychosocial interventions in Sierra Leone and Uganda: lessons from Médecins Sans Frontières

      de Jong, K; Kleber, R J; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Kaz.de.Jong@amsterdam.msf.org (2007-05)
      Médecins Sans Frontières has been involved in emergency mental health or psychosocial programmes since 1990. In this article the intervention model developed for emergency settings is shared. Psychosocial programmes distinguish two elements. The 'psycho'-component facilitates the reconnection of the affected individual to his environment. The 'socio'-element aims to create an environment that facilitates the individual to re-integrate. The nature of mental health and psychosocial programmes requires a multidisciplinary approach. Emotional support can also be provided by regular medical staff and does not always require a specialist. The years ahead of us are important for the development of psychosocial interventions. Fundamental issues such as programme evaluation need systematic research.
    • Emergency psychiatric care in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

      Goodfriend, M; ter Horst, R; Pintaldi, G; Junker, A; Frielingsdorf, H; Depeyrot, J; Matasci, L; Moroni, C; Musengetsi, A; Shanks, L (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014-10-15)
    • Evaluating Process and Clinical Outcomes of a Primary Care Mental Health Integration Project in Rural Rwanda: a Prospective Mixed-Methods Protocol

      Smith, SL; Misago, CN; Osrow, RA; Franke, MF; Iyamuremye, JD; Dusabeyezu, JD; Mohand, AA; Anatole, M; Kayiteshonga, Y; Raviola, GJ (BMJ Publishing Group Limited 2013, 2017-02-28)
      Integrating mental healthcare into primary care can reduce the global burden of mental disorders. Yet data on the effective implementation of real-world task-shared mental health programmes are limited. In 2012, the Rwandan Ministry of Health and the international healthcare organisation Partners in Health collaboratively adapted the Mentoring and Enhanced Supervision at Health Centers (MESH) programme, a successful programme of supported supervision based on task-sharing for HIV/AIDS care, to include care of neuropsychiatric disorders within primary care settings (MESH Mental Health). We propose 1 of the first studies in a rural low-income country to assess the implementation and clinical outcomes of a programme integrating neuropsychiatric care into a public primary care system.
    • Evaluation of psychological support for victims of sexual violence in a conflict setting: results from Brazzaville, Congo

      Hustache, S; Moro, M R; Roptin, J; Souza, R; Gansou, G M; Mbemba, A; Roederer, T; Grais, R; Gaboulaud, V; Baubet, T; Epicentre, Paris, France; Hôpital Avicenne, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Université de Paris, Bobigny, France; Hôpital Cochin, Maison des adolescents, Université de Paris, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières France, Paris, France; Médecin Sans Frontières Switzerland, Geneva, Switzerland; Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Abomey-Calavi University, Centre National Hospitalier et Universitaire Hubert Koutoukou Maga, Cotonou, Benin; Makélékélé Hospital, Brazzaville, Hôpital de base de Makélékélé, Bacongo, Republic of Congo (2009-04-01)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Little is known about the impact of psychological support in war and transcultural contexts and in particular, whether there are lasting benefits. Here, we present an evaluation of the late effect of post-rape psychological support provided to women in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. METHODS: Women who attended the Médecins Sans Frontières program for sexual violence in Brazzaville during the conflict were selected to evaluate the psychological consequences of rape and the late effect of post-rape psychological support. A total of 178 patients met the eligibility criteria: 1) Women aged more than 15 years; 2) raped by unknown person(s) wearing military clothes; 3) admitted to the program between the 1/1/2002 and the 30/4/2003; and 4) living in Brazzaville. RESULTS: The initial diagnosis according to DSM criteria showed a predominance of anxious disorders (54.1%) and acute stress disorders (24.6%). One to two years after the initial psychological care, 64 women were evaluated using the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ), the Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF) and an assessment scale to address medico-psychological care in emergencies (EUMP). Two patients (3.1%) met the needed criteria for PTSD diagnosis from the TSQ. Among the 56 women evaluated using GAF both as pre and post-test, global functioning was significantly improved by initial post-rape support (50 women (89.3%) had extreme or medium impairment at first post-rape evaluation, and 16 (28.6%) after psychological care; p = 0.04). When interviewed one to two years later, the benefit was fully maintained (16 women (28.6%) presenting extreme or medium impairment). CONCLUSION: We found the benefits of post-rape psychological support to be present and lasting in this conflict situation. However, we were unable to evaluate all women for the long-term impact, underscoring the difficulty of leading evaluation studies in unstable contexts. Future research is needed to validate these findings in other settings.
    • Exposure to violence and PTSD symptoms among Somali women

      de Jong, K; van der Kam, S; Swarthout, T; Ford, N; Mills, C; Yun, O; Kleber, R J; Médecins sans Frontières, Doctors without Borders, Amsterdam, Geneva, New York; Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, and Foundation Arq, Diemen, the Netherlands (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011-12-05)
      Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, exposure to traumatic stressors, and health care utilization were examined in 84 women attending a primary health care clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Somalia-Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale was used in this active warzone to measure symptoms. Nearly all women reported high levels of confrontations with violence; half described being exposed to a potentially traumatizing event. Nearly one third had significant PTSD symptoms. Compared to those who did not, women who reported exposure to a traumatic stressor reported more confrontations with violence (7.1 vs. 3.3; p < . 001), health complaints (3.8 vs. 2.9; p = .03), and nearly 3 times as much (p = .03) health service utilization. A potentially traumatizing event was found to be a simplified proxy for assessing mental health distress in women attending a primary health care facility in highly insecure, unpredictable, resource-limited settings.
    • Health Services for Gender-Based Violence: Médecins Sans Frontières Experience Caring for Survivors in Urban Papua New Guinea

      Lokuge, K; Verputten, M; Ajakali, M; Tolboom, B; Joshy, G; Thurber, K A; Plana, D; Howes, S; Wakon, A; Banks, E (Public Library of Science, 2016-06-10)
      Levels of gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are high; health services for survivors are limited. Evidence from the few existing health services for survivors can inform improvements in care in this and similar settings.
    • HIV, multidrug-resistant TB and depressive symptoms: when three conditions collide.

      Das, M; Isaakidis, P; Van den Bergh, R; Kumar, A M V; Nagaraja, S B; Valikayath, A; Jha, S; Jadhav, B; Ladomirska, J (Co-Action Publishing, 2014-09-09)
      Background: Management of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is highly challenging. Such patients are subject to long and potentially toxic treatments and may develop a number of different psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depressive disorders. A mental health assessment before MDR-TB treatment initiation may assist in early diagnosis and better management of psychiatric illnesses in patients already having two stigmatising and debilitating diseases. Objective: To address limited evidence on the baseline psychiatric conditions of HIV-infected MDR-TB patients, we aimed to document the levels of depressive symptoms at baseline, and any alteration following individualized clinical and psychological support during MDR-TB therapy, using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) tool, among HIV-infected patients. Design: This was a retrospective review of the medical records of an adult (aged >15 years) HIV/MDR-TB cohort registered for care during the period of August 2012 through to March 2014. Results: A total of 45 HIV/MDR-TB patients underwent baseline assessment using the PHQ-9 tool, and seven (16%) were found to have depressive symptoms. Of these, four patients had moderate to severe depressive symptoms. Individualized psychological and clinical support was administered to these patients. Reassessments were carried out for all patients after 3 months of follow-up, except one, who died during the period. Among these 44 patients, three with baseline depressive symptoms still had depressive symptoms. However, improvements were observed in all but one after 3 months of follow-up. Conclusion: Psychiatric illnesses, including depressive symptoms, during MDR-TB treatment demand attention. Routine administration of baseline mental health assessments by trained staff has the potential to assist in determining appropriate measures for the management of depressive symptoms during MDR-TB treatment, and help in improving overall treatment outcomes. We recommend regular monitoring of mental health status by trained counsellors or clinical staff, using simple, validated and cost-effective tools.
    • "I feel like I am less than other people": Health-related vulnerabilities of male migrants travelling alone on their journey to Europe

      Arsenijević, J; Burtscher, D; Ponthieu, A; Severy, N; Contenta, A; Moissaing, S; Argenziano, S; Zamatto, F; Zachariah, R; Ali, E; Venables, E (Elsevier, 2018-05-23)
      During 2015 and 2016, an unprecedented flow of approximately 800,000 migrants coming from Turkey towards Western Europe crossed the Balkans. Male migrants are perceived as being less vulnerable compared to other migrants and they are not given priority in service and support provision. This qualitative study examines the self-perceived vulnerabilities of male migrants travelling alone along the Balkan route to Europe. Twenty-four individual in-depth interviews, two group interviews and participant observation were conducted with male migrants in Belgrade, Serbia in 2017. Data was coded manually, and analysed thematically. Male migrants traveling alone face the cumulative vulnerability of various traumatic events and migration-related contextual circumstances. Three main themes emerged: the ongoing desperate journey, the better treatment of 'traditionally' well recognised vulnerable sub-groups and the impact of the continuous stress on mental health. Deterrence measures imposed for border control purposes in the form of push-backs, expulsions, detention and degrading, inhumane treatment amplify the psychological distress of male migrants. Feelings of hopelessness, desperation, lack of self-value and self-esteem were reported. 'Traditionally vulnerable' populations were said to have had better treatment throughout the journey from smugglers, border state authorities, governmental officials, civil society and international organizations. The devastating experiences of male migrants, as well as the better treatment offered to other groups of migrants like women and children, results in a perceived neglect of the needs of men in humanitarian response, rendering them vulnerable and exposing them to further health and protection risks. In a context where needs are unmet and people's dignity and health are at risk, specific strategies should be developed to include men in the assistance and protection offered, particularly in relation to exposure to violence.
    • Integrating mental health into primary care for displaced populations: the experience of Mindanao, Philippines

      Mueller, Y; Cristofani, S; Rodriguez, C; Malaguiok, R; Gil, T; Grais, R; Souza, R; Epicentre, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva, Switzerland; Médecins Sans Frontières, Mindanao, Philippines (2011-03-07)
      ABSTRACT: