Great paper from the THET Conference: Perceptions of perinatal depression in Malawi

5 October, 2020

Is this paper on perceptions of perinatal depression of interest?

It is by Mwawi Ngoma, Malawi Mental Health Nurse/Midwife and PhD candidate, one of today's keynote speakers at the THET Conference:

Thank you


Dr. Jo Vallis, Chair

FRIENDS OF CHITAMBO SCIO, Registered Charity No. SC044337

_Working Towards a Healthier Chitambo District_

Mobile telephone number: +44(0)7791262918


Skype: jandrval24

web address: [1] [1]

Facebook page: [2]





HIFA profile: Jo Vallis is a Medical Sociologist with a general and paediatric nurse/nurse teaching background. She is Chair of Scottish registered charity, Friends of Chitambo SCIO, which supports health projects in Chitambo District, central Zambia: web address:;

Facebook page:

She is Project Lead for a Scottish Government funded project on ‘Strengthening emergency care communications in Chitambo District, central Zambia’, now in its 3rd 2-year funding round.

Jo recently retired from her post as Research Officer within NHS Education for Scotland (NES), in order to continue the work with Chitambo in a voluntary capacity.

Email addresses:;

[*Note from HIFA moderator: Thanks, Jo.For the benefit of those who may not have immediate web access, here are the citation and abstract:

CITATION: PLoS One. 2019; 14(6): e0217102.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217102

“Passing through difficult times”: Perceptions of perinatal depression and treatment needs in Malawi - A qualitative study to inform the development of a culturally sensitive intervention

Mwawi Ng’oma et al.


Purpose: This study was conducted to explore the perceptions of perinatal women and key maternal care health workers about perinatal depression and the health service needs required to inform development of a culturally sensitive and acceptable psychosocial intervention.

Methods: This qualitative study used a descriptive exploratory design; it is the first phase of a larger mixed methods study aimed at adapting a psychosocial intervention for perinatal depression. We conducted in-depth interviews with 22 women who screened positive for depression using a locally validated Chichewa version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at antenatal and postnatal clinics in 1 rural and 1 urban health care setting in Lilongwe District, Malawi. We also conducted 10 key informant interviews with maternal care health workers. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. An interview guide was used to guide enquiry about perceptions of perinatal depression and health service needs. Interviews were transcribed, translated and analysed using content analysis approach.

Results: Perinatal depression was recognized as a common mental health problem that affected self-care activities and functioning of women in the perinatal period. Financial difficulties, relationship problems (polygamy, lack of support, neglect, and infidelity), traumatic events (intimate partner violence and loss) and fear of birth outcomes were identified as causes of depression. All study participants acknowledged the need for support and an intervention that will address the identified challenges. Additionally, they viewed strengthening the health delivery system as crucial to effectively address their needs and gaps identified in the system.

Conclusion: The results of this study support plans to develop a family focused intervention for perinatal depression in Malawi addressing relationship, psychosocial and economic issues. It also highlights the importance of strengthening the health delivery system especially at primary care level where the majority of women access care in Malawi and across Sub-Saharan Africa.]