IOM Uganda pilots enhanced screening for mental health

February 22, 2018

IOM Uganda’s Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC) is piloting a scheme for enhanced screening for mental health of refugees in the country.
The initiative started with training workshops in Kampala and Hoima, the result of a collaboration between IOM, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the War Survivors Institute (WSI). 
According to MHAC head Chief Medical Officer, Dr Mukunda Basnet Singh, WSI was brought in because of their expertise in mental health screening in and outside the United States. WSI is headed by Dr Michael Hollified, who developed form RHS-15, used as part of mental health examinations in many parts of the USA.
“During screening it is difficult to detect mental health issues; in part because of stigma attached to mental illness, people tend to withhold information,” Dr Mukunda said. “So it is important that we standardize the tools for enhanced mental health screening.”
About 25 medical officers, nurses and interpreters are taking part in the training.
After the training, the form RHS-15 is to be trialed within the ongoing migration health assessments in western Uganda, under close observation of the WSI training consultants.
Dr Mukunda said if the form proves successful, it will become part and parcel of the assessment in Uganda, and will be recommended to other IOM assessment centres across the world.