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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 189-195

Advocacy: How to Create Political will for Mental Health and Epilepsy in Low- and Middle-income Countries?

1 INSERM, Univ. Limoges, CHU Limoges, IRD, U1094 Tropical Neuroepidemiology, Institute of Epidemiology and Tropical Neurology, GEIST, Limoges, France
2 Global Health Programs, Sanofi, Gentilly, France
3 NCD Alliance, London, UK
4 NCD Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland
5 Paris, France
6 Neurology Department, Fann University Hospital, Dakar, Senegal
7 Sigmund Freud University, Paris, France
8 Casablanca, Morocco

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Farid Boumediene
Institut d'Epidémiologie et de Neurologie Tropicale, 2, rue du dr Marcland, 87025 Limoges Cedex
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_64_20

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Although psychiatric and neurological disorders are among the first contributors to the global burden of disease, they remain among the most neglected topics of Global Health. There is a real need to raise their profile, to improve advocacy so that the impact of these diseases is better understood, and greater political efforts are made to improve access to health care for mental disorders and epilepsy. This is the reason why in September 2019, the Interactive Meetings Promoting Access to Care and Treatment (IMPACT) Forum co-organized by the Institute of Epidemiology and Tropical Neurology UMR 1094 Inserm, the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP), and Sanofi Global Health was focused on “Advocacy: how to create political will for mental health and epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries?” This forum involved 40 people from 20 countries (from Africa, Asia, Latin America, but also from Europe), from various backgrounds (public, private, associative, and academic sectors), all committed to developing access to care for people living with mental disorders or epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries. The 2-day meeting combining plenary didactic sessions and group workshops provided participants with an opportunity to get a better understanding of advocacy, of its importance to drive policy and societal changes, and encouraged them to develop local advocacy plans. A survey conducted at the start of the IMPACT Forum, to evaluate the baseline understanding and attitudes toward advocacy, and repeated at the end, showed improvements in the overall score, as well as in every single item.

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