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BasicNeeds Annual Report 2016

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Comments are off

We are delighted to share with you our Annual Report for 2016.

With your support, over 686,000 lives have been transformed since we began work in 2000. Over the years, we have seen great improvements in people’s access to community-based mental health treatment, their ability to work and be involved in family and community life.

Thank you very much for your support and we hope you enjoy reading this year’s report.

Click here to download the report. 


World Health Day 2017

Posted on April 7, 2017 by Comments are off

The theme of this year’s World Health Day campaign celebrated on 7th April, is ‘Depression: Let’s talk’.

Depression is a common mental health disorder and globally more than 300 million people of all ages suffer. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

The one-year campaign launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 10th October, World Mental Health day last year, is an opportunity to have a better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated. It also aims to reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.

BasicNeeds has been supporting people with mental illness including those with depression since we began work in 2000. To date, over 686,000 people with mental illness, their carers and family members have benefitted from our programmes.

Find out how we are reaching people with depression in resource-poor settings here. With more than 300 million people suffering from the illness, investment in treatment for depression is good for health and for economies, read more here.

The World Health Day campaign essentials, handouts and posters are now available to download from the WHO website.

Share your events and activities on the online campaign app.

For further updates, follow the hashtag #LetsTalk on Twitter.

BasicNeeds Programme Evaluator’s study visit to Ghana

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Comments are off

In 2014, BasicNeeds received a grant from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) to scale up our community-based mental health care and support in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya through a social franchise approach.  This grant has provided the opportunity for BasicNeeds staff to mentor and support other organisations in these countries to increase their capacity and ability to deliver the BasicNeeds Model.

The social franchisees delivering the BasicNeeds programme are: Voice Ghana in Ghana; Caritas Nyeri in Kenya; and Gede Foundation in Nigeria. Alongside the scale up, an evaluation is being conducted at BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana. The evaluation adopts mixed methods in order to assess and compare the implementation, impact and cost-effectiveness of the traditional approach (delivered through BasicNeeds Ghana) to the social franchise approach (delivered through Voice Ghana) to scaling up. BasicNeeds’ Programme Evaluator, Tatiana Los, who went on a recent study visit to Ghana, reports:

“This was my second study visit to Ghana and it was wonderful to be warmly welcomed by familiar faces at both BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana. I spent two weeks working with each programme. During this time I was able to provide training to programme and support staff on how to collect some of the quantitative evaluation data. As part of the evaluation, I also conducted key informant interviews and focus group discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including people with mental illness and epilepsy; their caregivers; programme staff; service providers and community volunteers. These interviews explored perceptions of the implementation and impact of the programme, as well as its acceptability, feasibility and sustainability; and any facilitators or barriers to delivery. I felt incredibly grateful to have had the chance to hear and learn first-hand from these different key stakeholders on their perspectives and experiences of the programme.


Training programme staff and data collectors on evaluation data collection

During my visit, I also had the opportunity to observe some of the programme activities including self-help group meetings; livelihood activities; community awareness activities; and outreach clinics. As a part of the BasicNeeds programme, people with mental illness and epilepsy are supported to form self-help groups (SHGs), where they can access peer support from one another as well as livelihood opportunities.

I was delighted to attend a SHG meeting in a rural village in the Upper East Region. The meeting was attended by 14 participant and caregiver members and took place under a tree. The meeting opened with a prayer and then the group’s secretary started by recapping on what was discussed in their previous meeting. The SHG members deliberated on the upcoming rainy season, the potential to do some farming as a group, and the possibility of distributing some of their monthly contributions in order to purchase tools and materials required for farming. The BasicNeeds Ghana team have provided the members of this SHG with beehives so that they can begin bee-keeping and making honey. At the end of the SHG meeting the BasicNeeds Ghana Project Officer presented a bee-keeping kit to the group members, which was very warmly received with great excitement and gratitude. One of the group members tried on the bee-keeper suit and the group were advised by the Project Officer on how to use it.


Training self-help group members how to wear and use the bee-keeping kit

Voice Ghana is based in Ho Municipal and the team work to deliver programme activities all over the Volta Region. During my visit to Voice Ghana, I had the chance to observe the Programme staff providing some participants with livelihood support. Two participants were farmers and had expressed the need for various tools and materials to support their farming activities. Following a livelihood assessment, Voice Ghana provided them with farming tools and materials, including a pressure sprayer, Wellington boots, herbicide and fertiliser to help improve their farming production. The participants were very grateful for the support and said that these tools would enable their farm work to be more productive. Another young female participant was provided with soaps and detergents so that she could trade them and earn a living. She said that she would invest any profit into buying new products to trade, and that selling these products would help her to support herself and her family to meet their daily needs.


Voice Ghana Programme Support Officer giving farming tools and materials to a participant

Since I left Ghana, the teams at BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana have continued to work incredibly hard to collect evaluation data. Their support has been invaluable and the evaluation would not be possible without their motivation and commitment to collect accurate data. On returning to the UK, I have being providing remote support to the teams in Ghana and have started to transcribe the interviews, focus group discussions and field notes, with the valued support of our wonderful BasicNeeds Research volunteers. Once complete, the transcriptions will be analysed before being written up into a final report. The results of the evaluation are planned to be submitted for publication in December this year.

In all, I had an incredibly enlightening and productive study visit to Ghana and I look forward to ongoing collaboration with both BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana teams.”

International German Forum on global health and innovation

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Comments are off


Dr Chantharavady during a working group session on mental health

“What matters to people—global health and innovation” was the theme of the Third International German Forum that was held at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin in February 2017. Dr Chantharavady Choulamany, BasicNeeds Lao PDR Programme Manager and winner of last year’s Dr Guislain Award, was one of the 150 participants from 25 countries who was invited to attend the forum.

Launched in 2013 as a supplementary discussion to the G20 meetings, this international forum was created by Chancellor Angela Merkel to serve as a platform where experts from politics, industry, science and research, and civil society can engage in discussions on the issues that will define our future. With this year’s focus on health, the form focused on four main topics: (i) using the potential of information and communications technology (ICT), (ii) improving the use of antibiotics, (iii) fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and (iv) mental health – overcoming the taboo.

Professor Vikram Patel from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Public Health Foundation of India, was the main speaker for the session on mental health. He focused on prevention as a way of addressing the treatment gap along with access to quality community-based mental health care services. He called for an open dialogue on mental health by supporting people with mental disorders to speak out, share their stories and call for action. With mental health included in the Sustainable Development Agenda, the time is now to act.

Impact Overview 2016

Posted on March 27, 2017 by Comments are off

BN Kenya

Livelihoods training conducted by BasicNeeds Kenya

Over the last sixteen years, BasicNeeds has been supporting people with mental illness or epilepsy to lead better lives by providing access to effective community-based mental health services; equipping them with skills and the ability to make choices and contribute to their families and communities; and empowering them to transform those choices into positive changes in their lives.

To date, 686,394 people have benefitted from our programmes in 14 countries. In 2016 alone, the lives of 219,716 people including affected people, their carers and family members were transformed.

Download our Impact Overview for some of the highlights of the year.

Of the total participants in 2016, only 58% had received any form of treatment before joining a BasicNeeds programme. By the end of the year, 78% had access to treatment and medication on a regular basis through mental health outreach camps and clinics embedded in government hospitals. “The mental health services we are offering in our health facility along with access to a senior psychiatric nurse during outreach clinics has led to a big turnout of people accessing mental health services in the community.” – Community health worker in Kenya. Globally, 57% of participants reported a reduction in their symptoms.

As people recover from mental illness, they are keen to work or go back to a job they were previously undertaking. 73% of people reported that they were able to work of which 48% were earning an income. The remaining 25% were engaged in productive work such as doing household chores, gardening, etc. “Ever since I got treatment for my epilepsy at the district hospital and took my medicines regularly, my seizures have reduced. I am now able to work and earn 40,000 LAK (US$ 5) per day. I also help my neighbours in their paddy field during the harvest season. This has made me self-reliant and I am proud of myself.” – Participant during a home visit in Laos.

A significant contribution to the recovery of people with mental illness in the programme is their membership to a self-help group or community group. 62% of participants were reported to be in community groups after joining the programme as compared to a baseline of 17% (before joining). “BasicNeeds has helped me and other patients and carers in our village to set up a self-help group. I am pleased to be the leader of the group and I am in charge of organising all the members and discussing livelihood plans. As a group, we decided to raise sheep, an activity familiar to all of us. With each other’s support, our business is doing well and we are all benefitting from it.” – Member of a self-help group in China.

Our Impact Overview also highlights some of the key activities that took place in 2016 including training various stakeholders, conducting home visits and outreach mental health clinics and camps; the cost of implementing our programmes; our impact on policy; and some of the resources we produced.

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