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KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health Workshop

The GESI aims to enhance the capacity of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) in synthesising evidence, and using synthesised evidence to support practice and policy across disciplines including health. As such, the South African GESI held a workshop with the Kwazulu Natal (KZN) Department of Health from the 31st October to the 2nd November 2018, in Durban. The participants of the workshop included district managers, monitoring and evaluation officers, facility managers, and programme administrators. This workshop was funded and supported by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.

CHP coordinated and led two interactive sessions during this two-day workshop. The first session was on the different types of reviews. This session provided an overview of the different types of reviews, including effectiveness, qualitative, cost/economic, diagnostics, realist, mixed methods, scoping, umbrella and rapid reviews. The second session introduced an evidence map that CHP was conducting on strategies to strengthen the provision of mental healthcare at primary healthcare (PHC) level. This session had two prongs. The first aim was to facilitate a broader understanding of how researchers can make use of evidence maps in a way that is useful and meaningful to practitioners, advocacy groups and the public at large. The second aim was to have the KZN Department of Health to identify the strategies that they might think are relevant and feasible to implement in their context to strengthen the provision of mental healthcare at the PHC level.

Participants felt capacitated and recommended for further opportunities to learn about evidence synthesis. Secondly, the KZN Department of Health identified and requested for further information on the following strategies to strengthen the provision of mental healthcare at the PHC level:

  • Strategies that empower families, carers and patients (enlisting families, carers and patients may improve outcomes, and relieve PHC staff)
  • Early detection and preventative strategies (early detection, prevention and screening strategies all have implications for patient outcomes as well as cost implications)