JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

The impact of a lay counselor led collaborative care intervention for common mental disorders in public and private primary care: a qualitative evaluation nested in the MANAS trial in Goa, India

Sachin Shinde, Gracy Andrew, Omer Bangash, Alex Cohen, Betty Kirkwood, Vikram Patel
Social Science & Medicine 2013, 88: 48-55
23702209
The MANAS trial evaluated the effectiveness of a lay counselor led collaborative stepped care intervention for Common Mental Disorders (CMD) in public and private sector primary care settings in Goa, India. This paper describes the qualitative findings of the experience of the intervention and its impact on health and psychosocial outcomes. Twenty four primary care facilities (12 public and private each) were randomized to provide either collaborative stepped care (CSC) or enhanced usual care (EUC) to adults who screen positive for CMDs. Participants were sampled purposively based on two criteria: gender and, in the CSC arm, adherence with the intervention. The qualitative study component involved two semi-structured interviews with participants of both arms (N = 115); the first interview within 2 months of recruitment and the second 6-8 months after recruitment. Data were collected between September 2007 and November 2009. More participants in the CSC than EUC arm reported relief from symptoms and an improvement in social functioning and positive impact on work and activities of daily life. The CSC participants attributed their improvement both to medication received from the doctors and the strategies suggested by the lay Health Counselors (HC). However, two key differences were observed in the results for the two types of facilities. First, the CSC participants in the public sector clinics were more likely to consider the HCs to be an important component of providing care who served as a link between patient and the doctor, provided them skills on stress management and helped in adherence to medication. Second, in the private sector, doctors performed roles similar to those of the HCs and participants in both arms placed much faith in the doctor who acted as a confidante and was perceived to understand the participant's health and context intimately. Lay counselors working in a CSC model have a positive effect on symptomatic relief, social functioning and satisfaction with care in patients with CMD attending primary care clinics although the impact, compared with usual care, is greater in the public sector.

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