Moses Mulimira is a Co-founder of the Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation

The foundation aims to link nurses in the UK and Uganda for their mutual benefit, and to break down health inequalities for people with mental health challenges. Find out more here.

This is the latest Blog, published by the Centre for Global Mental Health at LSHTM.

 

Moses gave a successful Mental Health anti-stigma presentation and workshop for  the UK Uganda business community attended by Vice President of Uganda, H.E. Edward SSekandi and many other UK and Uganda government officials, and East London NHS Deputy Director of Nursing, Diana Hull. The Uganda convention UK conference was attended by over 1,000 people and there was a strong request for more information on both Mental health and Physical health among Ugandans in the diaspora.

Lisa gave her story as a mental health service user and  abusiness woman, which was very powerful.

Watch mental health awareness YouTube video here

Read more about the Uganda Convention UK here.

 

Brain drain to Brain Gain: working with UK medical diaspora groups

“I gained knowledge concerning my own recovery. Also helped me to understand that there are other things you can do instead of only medication. Shouldn’t just give medicine, should really look for the problem and try to help the problem. You should look for the problem for the mental illness.”

- (Semi structured interviews – Brain Gain Project, Kampala, 2013)

Since forming in 2011, The Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation (UDHF) has already made some substantial developments in positively breaking down health inequalities between Uganda and the UK. One example of this is the project Brain Gain.

Brain Gain is a project that incorporates the thinking, values and knowledge of UK (East London NHS Trust) and Ugandan mental healthcare professionals (Butabika Hospital, Kampala), Ugandan mental health service users, local community leaders and global policy makers.

At the core of this exchange are the diasporas; groups who have a unique potential to transform developing countries by drawing on their connections, linguistic skills and cultural competence by serving as volunteers worldwide.

Moses Mulimira of the Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation

Importantly here, the training has been multi-directional; Butabika Hospital has developed a richly collaborative relationship with East London NHS where the unfolding learning is reciprocal between these locations, broadening the horizons for mental health provision in both settings. Local community knowledge in Uganda plays a valuable role in the shaping of mental health services through the adaptation and implementation of ideas forged between East London NHS and Butabika Hospital. Policy makers are able to take a broader snapshot of this fascinating interchange and enable growth.

Brain Gain supports the community recovery team in Kampala to train service users as peer support workers (PSW) to assist psychiatric clinicians to develop a way to provide mental health services to the local populations together. PSWs are able to take a meaningful role in their communities, which not only aids their own recovery, but enables support for those who have been discharged to less accessible locations. Knowledge about how to identify the initial stages of mental health problems is disseminated through the local communities.

Among other things, this process works to:

    Break down stigma
    Discuss the role of culture and religion in mental health
    Aid employment
    Educate about medication
    Involve family and key community members
    Reduce violence
    Improve physical health and
    Allow the communities to own and promote the prevention of relapse in their own societies, in their own ways

The UDHF play the fundamental role in creating a channel of exchange that enables reciprocal education to take place between Uganda and the UK in a way that re-shapes and re-balances our historical inequalities; creating a true opportunity to learn from the community spirit of the Ugandan people and move towards a more sophisticated understanding of mental healthcare.

By Moses Mulimira: Co-chairperson, Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation - East London NHS Foundation Trust, and

Amy Stoddard: Strategic Development Lead, Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation

To find out more about diaspora-driven development here.

Moses is also a member of the Global Research Nurses' Network.