MHPSS in Guinea Conakry – A Literature Review
The World Health Organization (WHO) requested a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) literature review of countries impacted by the Ebola virus, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. International Medical Corps expressed an interest in completing the review for Guinea and commissioned a rigorous review of the literature on pre-existing information relevant to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in Guinea, in the French and English languages. This report presents the findings using an integrated psychological and anthropological framework that is instrumental in understanding MHPSS needs, and how to devise culturally-appropriate MHPSS interventions in Ebola-affected areas.
The report outlines the key findings of the existing academic and grey literature related to Guinean mental health and psychosocial issues and services, with a specific emphasis on the recent Ebola humanitarian crisis. The review was conducted in June-July 2015 and identified relevant academic publications using academic search engines and databases (Google scholar, Medline, Pubmed, PSYCHinfo, APA psycNET, and Anthrosource). The search was extended through manual searches on Google in French and English, and in the journals: Social Science and Medicine; Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, Transcultural Psychiatry; and Medical Anthropology. Researchers with relevant expert knowledge were also consulted. The overall search identified academic sources, but also relevant reports, policy documents and internet resources.
The report introduces general background information regarding the population of Guinea, its religions, history, politics, economics and health. It subsequently summarizes information on mental health and psychosocial issues including prevalence, local nosologies, help-seeking strategies, formal and informal resources of MHPSS sources of support. There is discussion of the ways in which causes and course of illness and misfortune are intertwined with plural cosmologies and with individuals’ relationships with the living, the dead, the spirit world, and nature itself. Finally, the humanitarian crisis of Ebola in Guinea is explored, alongside responses to it, and its social and psychological ramifications for the affected population.
The scholarly and grey literature available on MHPSS specifically in Guinea was limited and thinly spread over many documents. This presented a challenge when writing this report and we acknowledge that there may have been further relevant material to be found in sources that did not focus specifically on MHPSS, but which it was not possible to obtain within the time-scale of the review. Nonetheless, we hope the report can provide useful insights for policy-makers, donors, governments and service-providers.
To access review please visit http://mhpss.net/?get=268/Guinea-MHPSS-Literature-Review-2015-English1.pdf or download Guinea MHPSS Literature Review 2015 English here.