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Homeopathy Reduces Service Users’ Self-Reported Emotional Distress in a Charity Supported Rural Community Clinic in Ghana
05 February 2018 (online)
Background: Mental illness is often stigmatised in Ghana. The World Health Organization has estimated that as few as 2% of Ghanaians with mental health needs are able to access treatment. To approach this shortfall, the charity Ghana Homeopathy Project (GHP) supports the use of homeopathy in community clinics to improve Ghanaians’ psychological health and well-being.
Objectives: To perform an audit of GHP-partnered clinic service users and assess the impact of homeopathy in the Mafi Seva Community Clinic (MSCC) on service users’ self-reported levels of emotional distress.
Methods: The audit was performed in two GHP-partnered clinics; one in the rural setting of MSCC in the Volta region and one in the urban setting of Accra (participants N = 326). The service evaluation was performed solely in MSCC (N = 65). Socio-demographic and clinical data were collected using standardised forms; emotional distress was assessed using the validated Schwartz Outcome Scale (SOS-10).
Results: Over 90% of participants in both the audit and service evaluation presented with predominantly physical chronic (>1 year) complaints. Despite the low prevalence of mental/emotional presenting complaints, assessment of SOS-10 scores and changes in emotional distress across three consecutive homeopathic appointments showed a clear and statistically significant improvement (Friedman’s test, p < 0.001; median score change of 8). Prevalence of “severe” distress (SOS-10 score 1–22) was reduced from 66.2% at baseline to 13.8% after three appointments.
Conclusion: GHP-partnered community clinics provide a valuable service to Ghanaians, satisfying an unmet need for support and treatment of a range of health problems including psychological well-being. Such clinics could contribute to delivering community-based mental health services as outlined in the Mental Health Act (2012), through providing a service that is clearly of benefit to its users.
Keywords: Audit, service evaluation, psychological well-being, community clinic, charity, Ghana