AFRICA—The Africa CDC has collaborated with the Wellcome Trust, a London-based nonprofit foundation focused on health research, to develop a new Mental Health Leadership Programme (AMHLP) to address Africa’s mental health challenges.

This Wellcome-funded program is part of the Africa CDC’s continental strategic goals on NCDs, Injuries, and Mental Health, which lay out a clear path for Member States to coordinate activities and receive support on public mental health issues.

 The program will bring together decision-makers to assist countries in improving services and providing advice on public health policies to promote and protect mental health and well-being.

This aligns with the African CDC’s 2023–2027 Strategic Plan goal of developing integrated health systems in Member States to prevent and control high-burden diseases.

Furthermore, it is consistent with Africa’s New Public Health Order (NPHO) objectives, which see workforce development as a critical problem.

The AMHLP will be based on a tailored curriculum and informed by input from persons with lived experience, with workforce development interventions provided through different pathways.

This specialized curriculum will be incorporated into the current Africa CDC-Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme and Field Epidemiology Training Programme.

 Furthermore, the curriculum will be given in the form of short courses, with the purpose of strengthening civil society organizations (CSOs) and providing them with information and skills to build, strengthen, and influence mental health policies and practices.

His Excellency Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC, stressed the significance of this program and its urgency for the continent, lauding the collaboration’s goal of improving mental health across Africa and assisting member nations in incorporating it into broader health systems.

In her remarks, Professor Miranda Wolpert, Director of Mental Health at Wellcome, emphasized the Africa CDC’s essential role in bringing mental health to the forefront of African policy.

She also underlined that this program would produce a cadre of leaders capable of promoting context-specific, evidence-based mental health strategies, resulting in more effective solutions to the region’s severe mental health concerns..

Although the continent offers some aspects that promote mental health and well-being, such as close-knit and supportive families, cultural traditions that bind communities together, and healthful traditional diets and lifestyles, numerous difficulties pose a threat to health and well-being.

These difficulties include living in poverty, living in a combat zone, or not having access to basic health, education, and social services.

As a result, through this program, the Africa CDC hopes to develop a cadre of mental health professional leaders capable of boosting changes inside Member States’ mental health systems.

These leaders will fight for increased prioritization and funding in mental health programs, while also building a strong network of experts across the continent.

The Africa CDC is collaborating with the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Global Disability Inclusion, and other key institutions on the continent to build curricular domains and ensure program effectiveness.

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