Malawi Liverpool Wellcome, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES), Kings College London, and the University of Zimbabwe have trained clinical workers from Bangwe Health Centre on the novel Cognitive Behaviour therapy, also known as TENDAI, to effectively manage depression among pregnant women living with HIV and AIDS.
The 3-day training was conducted from 1 to 4 March 2022 at Cherrywood Hotel in Blantyre.
According to one of the facilitators, who is also a clinical psychologist and global mental health researcher from the University of Zimbabwe Tarisai Bere, the TENDAI intervention will positively contribute toward realisation of the 90:90:90 HIV treatment goal as well as viral load suppression by encouraging adherence to ARTs.
Bere said it was important to train the health workers to effectively manage depression because it is a serious threat to global health, effective management of depression among pregnant women living with HIV and AIDS would significantly improve maternal and neonatal care.
“Depression is common among pregnant women living with HIV and AIDS. It has a significant impact on maternal and neonatal care because it is a cause of low childbirth weight. Depression is also one of the reasons that make pregnant women abandon Antiretroviral (ART) drugs which affect their health and that of the unborn child,” said Bere.
TENDAI Study Coinvestigator at Kings College London Rabecca Jopling said if the intervention proves to be feasible and sustainable in Malawi, it will be a better basis for policy formulation and adoption to scale up efforts against HIV and AIDS epidemic.
Jopling said the TENDAI intervention developed in the United States of America has proven effective in Zimbabwe where it was implemented in 2013.
One of the trainees Allan Ngwira said the training was relevant to his field of work and will help him deliver high standard service to clients.
“My community will benefit because I will be able to identify people suffering from depression and even those who are at risk and manage them accordingly,” said Ngwira.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 5 percent of the global population is depressed.
The TENDAI Study is being implemented by the Gender and Health Associate Group led by Dr. Moses Kumwenda.