Mental health voices from Africa: Experiences and Lessons Learned
14/06 - 15/06/2021

Pour le français, voir ici

International Conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs in Francophone countries of Sub-Saharan Africa

14 – 15 June 2021, 13:45 – 17:30 (UTC +2)

Languages: French and English

Registrations are closed. The available presentations are accessible via the links to the different working groups. (without translation)

Digital report of the conference

Summary of the conference report in Pdf

On 14 and 15 June 2021, the Working Group on Mental health from Be-cause health will organise a virtual international conference “Mental Health voices from Africa” on the practices and the challenges faced in the Francophone countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
For two half days, actors from the field of mental health, user associations and people in charge of the organisation of health care will contribute to the different sessions.

This conference wants to offer a space where people working in this field will be able to exchange their experiences and reflections on common challenges.

The conference will not consist of a series of scientific presentations but will be a space for actors of the field to exchange and reflect. Organising the conference virtually offers a unique opportunity to bring together people from different countries, in particular from Benin, Burundi, Guinea, Mali, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, the Central-African Republic, Cameroon and Chad.

A combination of more practical than conceptual presentations of about 15 minutes, exchanges and round tables will enable to highlight experiences from the field by the stakeholders themselves.

Clinical practices but also how to organise health care and preventive activities as close as possible to the communities involved will be on the table. Each presentation will lead to exchanges on challenges raised and the lessons learnt. Special attention will go to the challenges that street children face in terms of mental health, to the governance and also to the organisational and clinical aspects of mental health care within the communities.


Monday 14 June

  • 13:45 Welcoming of participants
  • 14:00 Opening:
    • Information pratique – Practical information
    • Jaak Le Roy, for the Organisation Committee
    • Opening by H.M. the Queen of the Belgians: Video
    • Paul Bekkers, Ambassador Netherlands Special Envoy on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in crises: Video
    • Presentation of the conference: Willem van de Put, Coordinator of the Be-cause health Working group on Mental health
  • 14:20 Introduction:
    • Why do we talk about mental health (and its clinical management) today? Florence Baingana (WHO Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo): Video & Presentation (Pdf)
    • Why do we focus on Francophone Africa? Julian Eaton (LSHTM, London, UK): Video
  • 14:50 Presentation of the working groups and practical arrangements: Hilde Buttiëns
  • 14:55 Pause
  • 15:00 Thematic working groups 1, 2 & 3:
  • 16:30 Break (15 min)
  • 16:45 Plenary session: Report of the working groups to
    • (1) explore common challenges;
    • (2) identify relevant/priority lines of thought;
    • (3) receive proposals of participants on which options to prioritize.
      Moderator: Maximilien Zimmermann
  • 17:30 Closing of the first day. Preview of the second day: Willem van de Put

Tuesday 15 June

  • 13:45 Welcome of the participants
  • 14:00 Summary of the results of the first day: Xavier de Béthune
  • 14:15 Presentation of the working groups and practical arrangements: Hilde Buttiëns
  • 14:25 Break
  • 14:30 Thematic working groups 4,5 & 6;
  • 15:50 Pause (10’)
  • 16:00 Plenary session: Report of the working groups to
    • (1) explore common challenges;
    • (2) identify relevant/priority lines of thought;
    • (3) receive proposals of participants on which options to prioritize.
      Moderator: Florence Vandendorpe
  • 16:45 Synthesis and conclusions of the conference. Perspectives and proposals for follow-up: Willem van de Put & Jaak Le Roy
  • 17:30 Closing of the conference

Speakers, discussants and moderators

  • Achour Ait Sidoun, psychiatrist, consultant Enabel (Burundi/Belgium)
  • Florence Baingana, psychiatrist, Manager WHO Office Africa Brazzaville (Republic of Congo, Uganda)
  • Moumouni Bonkoungou, mediator / trainer, Rescue, IRC (Chad)
  • Hilde Buttiëns, Public Health expert, Memisa (Belgium)
  • Souleymane Coulibaly, psychologist, CHU, Bamako (Mali)
  • Xavier de Béthune, doctor in public health (Belgium)
  • Marie-Justine Diallo, general practitioner, Fraternité Médicale Guinée (Guinea)
  • Julian Eaton, public health psychiatrist, LSHTM (UK)
  • Amadou Lamarana Diallo, community worker (Guinea)
  • Hermann Hessou, social worker, Terres Rouges (Benin)
  • Boniface Kaba You, nurse Psychiatric Dispensary at the village of Trinle-Diapleu (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Maman Kabirou Ibrahim, community agent, COOPI (Niger)
  • Jeanine Kamana, doctor, Louvain Coopération (Burundi)
  • Barthélemy Koukoura, lecturer, Réseau Africain pour le Bien-être et la Résilience (Togo)
  • Jaak Le Roy, psychiatrist, consultant/Global trainer global MHPSS (Belgium)
  • Consolata Mayondo, psychosocial consultant (Burundi)
  • Eric Messens, psychologist, Terres Rouges (Belgium/Benin)
  • Begoña Montanes, psychologist HI (Belgium)
  • Jean Luc Nkengurutse, stakeholder in the decentralisation of the Burundi mental health sector (Burundi)
  • Adelin N’situ, psychiatrist, Centre N.P.P, Université de Kinshasa, Programme National Santé Mentale (DR Congo)
  • Willem van de Put, anthropologist, Institute of Tropical Medicine (Belgium)
  • Patrick Razafindradimy, project manager prisons, Touching Minds Raising Dignity Programme (Togo)
  • Eugène Rutembesa, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Rwanda (Rwanda)
  • Elvire Sosohounto, social worker, St Camille Bohicon (Benin)
  • Abdoulaye Sow, doctor, Fraternité Médicale Guinée (Guinea)
  • Florence Vandendorpe, sociologist & psychologist, Ministry of the Walloon-Brussels Federation and consultant (Belgium)
  • Sow Gouagna Traore, Social Trainer Samusocial Mali and Technical Referent (Mali)
  • Alex Won, nurse, Psychiatric Dispensary at the village of Trinle-Diapleu (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Maximilien Zimmermann, specialist mental health and psychosocial support, HI, (Belgium/Switzerland)

Reference persons

  • Faustin Chenge (DR Congo), Alexandre Delamou (Guinea), Jean Paul Dossou (Benin), Olivier Douville (France),
  • Frédérique Drogoul (France), Jean Damascène Iyamuremye (Rwanda), Steven Jansen (Rwanda),
  • Hippolyte Manirakiza (Burundi), Lansane Mansé (Burundi), Consolata Mayondo (Burundi),
  • Clément Meda (Burkina Faso), Eric Mukala Mayoyo (DR Congo), Pierre Monkoro (Mali), James Mugisha (Uganda),
  • Nianguiry Kanté (Mali), Stephen Rulisa (Rwanda), Joseph Ryarasa Nkurunziza (Rwanda), Freddie Ssengooba (Uganda),
  • Peter Ventevogel (The Netherlands/Switzerland)

Organisation Committee of the Be-cause health Working Group on Mental Health

  • Coordination: Willem van de Put, Jaak Le Roy, Hilde Buttiëns, Xavier de Béthune, Begoña Montanes, Florence Vandendorpe, Maximilien Zimmermann
  • Be-cause health secretariat: Magalie Schotte (Coordinator Be-cause health), Nathalie Brouwers (Management Assistant / ITM)

Please note that the webinar as well as the workshops will be recorded for internal use to draft the report of the conference. During the webinar parts, the participants will not be visible. During the workshops your camera will not be enabled automatically and you will be able to turn it on and off. Your name will not be shared automatically either.