Making strides in women’s mental health care delivery in rural Ethiopia: demographics of a female outpatient psychiatric cohort at Jimma University Specialized Hospital (2006–2008)
Zeina N Chemali,1,2 Christina PC Borba,1,2 Tanya E Henderson,3 Markos Tesfaye4
1Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 3International and Human Rights Law Consultants, Cambridge, MA, USA; 4Department of Psychiatry, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Abstract: This paper presents the delivery of mental health care to a sample of women living in Jimma, rural Ethiopia, and their access to mental health services. A total of 226 psychiatric charts were reviewed for women seen at Jimma University Specialized Hospital. The mental health charts included documentation ranging from one paragraph to a full note. No psychiatric chart recorded medication status, detailed substance abuse history, or a history of violence. Rendering appropriate mental health care for women requires concerted efforts by multiple stake holders. Using our results, we advance concrete and practical suggestions for improving women's mental health in rural Ethiopia. We point out that the health care system needs to be responsive, allowing for change starting with gender rights, so that rural women have access to basic mental health services.
Keywords: global mental health, low income country, Africa, gender differences
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