Access to and availability of (mental) healthcare information as an unaddressed prerequisite to improve maternal mental health

22 April, 2019

Dear HIFA Colleagues,

As the World Maternal Mental Health Day (WMMHD) is going to be celebrated on the 1st of May 2019, it matters to highlight an unaddressed issue that perhaps affects women's and adolescent girl health and that of their babies.

There is growing evidence of the role that reliable, readable healthcare information has to improve health outcomes and enable individuals to adopt healthier behaviours. When it comes to mental health care information the rewards for the patients are even bigger as a result of the great ignorance, and stigma surrounding mental health issues. In spites of this evidences, many women of child bearing age as well as pregnant women and adolescents girls still have no access to mental healthcare information even when eHealth or mhealth strategies are used to improve on their health.

I was talking with a midwife in a community health center who told me that many women that come to the center, when they go into labour from their behaviour during pregnancy, behave as if they never have had any information with respect to what awaits them. This in spites of the health talks at the antennal clinics. I found this very interesting. Several research questions should be asked and solutions developed. En passant, Cameroon and many Sub Saharan African countries still have high levels of maternal and infant mortality rates.

How do we make more readable (mental) healthcare information affordable and accessible to women of child bear age, adolescent girls, pregnant women and pregnant adolescents? Taking into account this are very specific populations.

1- How do women of child bearing age, as well as adolescent girls access the mental healthcare information they need to take care of their mental health?

2- How should this be done in a context where mobile telephones are now very accessible and affordable?

3- Is there a significant relationship between unaddressed maternal mental health issues and increased maternal and infant mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa ?

4- Are these the right questions to ask?

Based on my field work, I strongly believe that within low resource settings, enabling pregnant women and pregnant adolescent girls to access mental healthcare information can greatly contribute in improving on their overall health and most maternal mental health. Equally, this will enable the community health centres or hospitals to better manage the pregnancies and labour of these women.

Indeed, access to and availability of (mental) healthcare information as an unaddressed prerequisite to improve maternal mental health has to be taken as an emergency in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality. More so, in the attainment of SDG 3 and its targets.

Kindest regards,

Didier Demassosso

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Didier Demassosso

Mental Health Expert

HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon

HIFA Country representative of the year 2014

MHIN Africa Knowledge Exchange volunteer assistant

Member of the African Evidence Network (AEN)

Cameroon Human Right Fellow 2017

Vonlunteer at the International Association For Counselling

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Tel :(237) 670-14-01-23/694-90-20-29

twitter:@DDemassosso

skype: Didier Demassosso

linkedin.com/in/didier-demassosso

HIFA profile: Didier Demassosso is a School Counsellor at the Ministry of Secondary Education in Cameroon. HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon/HIFA Country Represenative of the year 2014 and Mental Health Worker. Professional interests: Health Promotion, Mental Health Promotion, School mental health promotion, School health promotion, Mobile Health, Mental health, Public health, Public mental health, Trauma, Environment,the mind, ICT, Culture, Adolescent/Child health, Maternal health. He is a HIFA Country Representative.

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http://www.hifa.org/support/members/didier

Email: didier.demassosso AT gmail.com