Article abstract


Introduction: mental health disorders constitute 13% of global disease burden, the impacts of which are disproportionality felt in sub-Saharan Africa. Equatorial Guinea, located in Central-West Africa, has the highest per-capita investment in healthcare on the African continent, but only two studies have discussed mental health issues in the country and none of have examined the perspective of professionals working in the field. The purpose of this study was to gain a preliminary understanding of Equatoguinean health care professionals' perspectives on the mental health care system.

 

Methods: nine adult participants (directors or program managers) were interviewed in July 2013 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from government agencies, aid organizations, hospitals, and pharmacies. Interviews were designed to collect broad information about the mental healthcare system in Equatorial Guinea including the professionals' perspectives and access to resources. This research was reviewed and approved by an ethical oversight committee.

 

Results: all individuals interviewed indicated that the mental health system does not currently meet the needs of the community. Professionals cited infrastructural capacity, stigmatization, and a lack of other resources (training programs, knowledgeable staff, medications, data) as key factors that limit the effectiveness of mental healthcare.

 

Conclusion: this study provides a preliminary understanding of the existing mental health care needs in the country, highlighting opportunities for enhanced healthcare services.