JOURNAL ARTICLE

Improving the outcomes of primary care attenders with common mental disorders in developing countries: a cluster randomized controlled trial of a collaborative stepped care intervention in Goa, India

Vikram H Patel, Betty R Kirkwood, Sulochana Pednekar, Ricardo Araya, Michael King, Daniel Chisholm, Gregory Simon, Helen Weiss
Trials 2008 January 25, 9: 4
18221516

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Common mental disorders (CMD) are a leading global burden of disease. Up to 30% of primary care attenders suffer from these disorders but most do not receive evidence-based drug or psychological treatments. There are no trials of interventions which attempt to integrate these treatments into routine primary care in developing countries. The aims of this trial (the MANAS Project) are to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a collaborative stepped-care intervention for the treatment of CMD in India.

STUDY DESIGN: A cluster randomized controlled trial will be implemented in the state of Goa, on the west coast of India. Twenty-four primary care facilities, 12 from the government sector and 12 from the private sector, will be enrolled in two consecutive phases. For each sector, facilities will be randomly allocated within strata defined by urban/rural location, population size and presence of a visiting psychiatrist. Facilities will be randomly allocated to receive the collaborative stepped care intervention or the enhanced usual care control intervention. Both arms share two components of the intervention, viz., routine screening, and in the government clinics provision of antidepressants. In addition, the collaborative stepped care arm also provides a range of psychosocial treatments delivered by a specially trained Health Counselor, and supervision by a visiting Psychiatrist. A total of 3600 primary care attenders who are detected to suffer from a CMD based on a validated screening questionnaire will be recruited. The primary outcome is the proportion of subjects who recover from an ICD10 defined CMD at baseline by 6 months. Additional endpoints at 2 and 12 months will assess the speed and sustainability of achieving the primary outcomes. Other outcomes will include recovery from ICD10 defined depression and incidence of ICD-10 among individuals who were sub-threshold cases at baseline. Economic and disability outcomes will be assessed to estimate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.

IMPLICATIONS: This will be the first trial of the effectiveness of a complex intervention aiming to integrate efficacious treatments for CMD into routine primary care in a developing country. If effective, its findings will have relevance to policy makers who wish to scale up treatments for CMD in primary care across the world, but mostly in those countries where specialist mental health services are few.

STUDY REGISTRATION: The MANAS project is registered through the National Institutes of Health sponsored clinical trials registry and has been assigned the identifier: NCT00446407.

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