2nd Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in SSA & Collaborative Hubs Meeting – July 30-August 3, 2017

The purpose of the 2nd Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa, a follow-up to the first annual (July 2016) conference was to continue capacity building efforts in the region. More specifically, the conference aimed to:

Bring together researchers, NGOs, government officials, and other stakeholders from Sub-Saharan Africa to move forward the conversation initiated during the July 2016 First Annual Conference around child behavioral health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Offer the SMART Africa Global Child Health Fellows an opportunity to share their experiences, thus far, with a wider and global audience.

Two sessions, the first one focused on building capacity among junior scholars interested in child behavioral health in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the second on how to increase dialogue and collaboration among researchers, policymakers and practitioners were conducted during the conference.

The conference was preceded by a pre-conference day devoted to capacity building workshops, namely the “Implementing and scaling up integrated primary care mental health services in low resource settings: Lessons for study design and measurement from the PRIME Research Programme Consortium” and the “Theory of Change”.

In addition to the Second Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was open the general public, SMART Africa Center also hosted the Collaborative Hubs meeting. This meeting brought together all five NIMH-funded hubs working in over 15 countries across the globe to discuss research questions and ongoing projects related to scaling up mental health interventions, sustaining high-quality mental health care in resource-limited settings and fostering evidence-based mental health policies and programs. Key members of the SMART Africa investigative team across four SSA countries as well as the United States attended the meeting and had the opportunity to learn from and contribute to critical discussions with other Hubs around implementation, scaling up of EBPs and overall capacity building approaches.

In addition to attending both the Collaborative Hubs Meeting and the Second Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health, the SMART Africa Investigators Teams from Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, plus several Global Fellows (as well as other hubs and NIMH colleagues) participated in field visits in Masaka and Rakai so that they could get further opportunities to learn from the experiences of SMART Africa Uganda team.

Specifically, in addition to visits to schools where the scale-up study would be implemented and the ICHAD office where the study is housed, the Ghana and Kenya teams (and other hub representatives) attended a meeting during which key stakeholders (teachers and parents) presented on the process of the MFG intervention manual adaptation into the Ugandan context and their contributions. This served as a model for both country teams to consider as they conceptualized the MFG adaptation in their respective contexts. Additionally, the Uganda team also shared their experiences with the site initiation visit as well as the regulatory binder that had been put together for DSMB and external auditing purposes.

You can watch footage of the conference below