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Empowering patients of a mental rehabilitation center in a low-resource context: a Moroccan experience as a case study

Authors Khabbache H, Jebbar A, Rania N, Doucet MC, Watfa AA, Candau J, Martini M, Siri A, Brigo F, Bragazzi NL

Received 17 July 2016

Accepted for publication 15 December 2016

Published 10 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 103—108


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Hicham Khabbache,1 Abdelhak Jebbar,2,* Nadia Rania,3,* Marie-Chantal Doucet,4 Ali Assad Watfa,5 Joël Candau,6 Mariano Martini,7 Anna Siri,8,* Francesco Brigo,9,10,* Nicola Luigi Bragazzi1,2,4–8,11,*

1Faculty of Literature and Humanistic Studies, Sais, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, 2Faculty of Art and Humanities, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni-Mellal, Morocco; 3School of Social Sciences, Department of Education Sciences, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy; 4Faculty of Human Sciences, School of Social Work, University of Québec-Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada; 5Faculty of Education, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait; 6Laboratory of Anthropology and Cognitive and Social Psychology, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France; 7Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), Section of Bioethics, University of Genoa, 8UNESCO Chair “Health Anthropology, Biosphere and Healing Systems”, Genova, 9Department of Neurology, Franz Tappeiner Hospital, Merano, 10Department of Neurological, Biomedical, and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, 11School of Public Health, Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), University of Genoa, Genova, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders represent a major source of disability and premature mortality worldwide. However, in developing countries patients with MNS disorders are often poorly managed and treated, particularly in marginalized, impoverished areas where the mental health gap and the treatment gap can reach 90%. Efforts should be made in promoting help by making mental health care more accessible. In this article, we address the challenges that psychological and psychiatric services have to face in a low-resource context, taking our experience at a Moroccan rehabilitation center as a case study. A sample of 60 patients were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire during the period of 2014–2015. The questionnaire investigated the reactions and feelings of the patients to the rehabilitation program, and their perceived psychological status and mental improvement, if any. Interviews were then transcribed and processed using ATLAS.ti V.7.0 qualitative analysis software. Frequencies and co-occurrence analyses were carried out. Despite approximately 30 million inhabitants within the working age group, Morocco suffers from a shortage of specialized health workers. Our ethnographic observations show that psychiatric treatment can be ensured, notwithstanding these hurdles, if a public health perspective is assumed. In resource-limited settings, working in the field of mental health means putting oneself on the line, exposing oneself to new experiences, and reorganizing one’s own skills and expertise. In the present article, we have used our clinical experience at a rehabilitation center in Fes as a case study and we have shown how to use peer therapy to overcome the drawbacks that we are encountered daily in a setting of limited resources.

Keywords: peer therapy, low-resource setting, patient empowerment, qualitative analysis

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