Thematic working group 3 : The community health care services

  • Moderator: Mr Eric Messens
  • Speakers:
    • Ms Maman Kabirou Ibrahim (Niger)
    • Mr Moumouni Bonkoungou (Chad)
  • Discussant: Ms Marie-Justine Diallo (Guinea)

The term community mental health refers to a vast variety of practices. It refers not only to a movement to transform mental health care but also to a specific category of care. In some cases, the term ‘community’ means the direct involvement of local community actors; in other cases, it implies a distinction/distance from care focused on psychiatric hospitalisation. In low- and middle-income countries, community mental health projects include a multitude of different and rich practices which do not refer to a unified model.

In this session, we will travel to Chad and Niger to understand how, due to the shortage of specialised professionals, stakeholders from mostly social backgrounds have explored this field of intervention at the confluence of medical and social issues. How do these psychosocial workers interact with health professionals (nurses, community health workers, doctors…)? How are their roles and the limits of these roles negotiated? Is there a possible role to be played by patients themselves – for example in the form of user associations or peer groups – or by their families? In this session, we will walk across this shifting – and imaginary? – dividing line – that separates patients from non-patients, mental health workers from those who are not, to shed light on the particular places where these actors meet, the tensions their interactions create, and the responses such tensions have prompted here and there.