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Building primary health care capacity to address addiction and mental health inequities: lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean

Akwatu Khenti (Based at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada)
Jaime C. Sapag (Based at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada)
Consuelo Garcia‐Andrade (Based at the National Institute of Psychiatry, Mexico City, Mexico)
Fernando Poblete (Based at the Family Medicine Department, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Ana Raquel Santiago de Lima (Based at the Health Secretary, State of Sergipe, Brazil)
Andres Herrera (Based at the Centre for Demographics and Health, UNAN‐Leon, León, Nicaragua)
Pablo Diaz (Based at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada)
Henok Amare (Based at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada)
Avra Selick (Based at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada)
Sandra Reid (Based at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago)

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1757-0980

Article publication date: 15 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Since 2002, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario, Canada, has been working closely with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to implement mental health capacity‐building focused on primary health care. From an equity perspective, this article seeks to critically analyze the process and key results of this capacity‐building effort and to identify various implications for the future.

Design/methodology/approach

This analysis of capacity‐building approaches is based on a critical review of existing documents such as needs assessments and evaluation reports, as well as reflective discussion. Previous health equity literature is used as a framework for analysis.

Findings

More than 1,000 professionals have been engaged in various kinds of training in Chile, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago. These capacity‐building initiatives have had an impact on primary health care from both an equity and systems perspective because participants were engaged at all stages of the process and implementation lessons incorporated into the final efforts. Stigma was also reduced through the collaborations.

Originality/value

Using concrete examples of capacity‐building in mental primary healthcare in LAC, as well as evidence gathered from the literature, this article demonstrates how primary healthcare can play a strong role in addressing health equity and human rights protection for people with mental health and/or substance abuse problems.

Keywords

Citation

Khenti, A., Sapag, J.C., Garcia‐Andrade, C., Poblete, F., Raquel Santiago de Lima, A., Herrera, A., Diaz, P., Amare, H., Selick, A. and Reid, S. (2011), "Building primary health care capacity to address addiction and mental health inequities: lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean", Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 143-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/17570981111249284

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited