Making them count, counting the mentally ill, evidence from the Kintampo demographic health system

Edward Adiibokah, Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC)

Persons with Mental Disorders (PMDS) are among the most marginalised groups in developing countries, as they are socially excluded and overlooked in most development efforts. Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) platforms serve as unique opportunities for longitudinal studies on such marginalised groups. However, due to high levels of stigma and other operational difficulties, PMDS are often undetected in routine enumeration exercises. This study is situated in the methodological aspects of social demography of mental illness in a HDSS setting. Five hundred and sixty-nine PMDS were identified and followed on longitudinal basis for their inclusion in the Kintampo HDSS. Following a “targeted” and “service provision” approach, coverage of PMDS went up to 68% in 2010, compared with previous levels of 54% and 49% in 2005 and 2008 respectively. A body of evidence for inclusion of PMDS and other groups, living with stigmatising conditions, currently exists that could potentially make a scientific contribution and inform policy.

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Presented in Session 6: Measurement issues and survey instruments