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The Kintampo Project is training a new generation of mental health workers unique to Ghana. This workforce shifts focus away from large psychiatric hospitals, decongesting the system and moving care into the community where it is most needed.

We have developed two new types of mental health worker – The Clinical Psychiatric Officer (CPO) and the Community Mental Health Officer (CMHO) – and we have been training them at the Kintampo College of Health and Wellbeing (CoHK) since 2011.  (Note: CPO was formerly known as 'MAP').

UK expertise has been used to develop the training programmes, and we have focussed on ‘educating the educators’ in the latest, evidence-based teaching methods. Our curricula are predominantly practical, with field placements at hospitals and in the community. We have recruited a network of preceptors (community educators) throughout Ghana to oversee students whilst at their placements – to help capture learning and to act as mentors and facilitators. Over 600 students have trained so far. We are now in the final phase of our work by developing CPD and practitioner associations for those in practice.

Map of Ghana showing the different regions. Aside from three hospitals on the coast, mental health services are almost non-existent. Inset: Regional map of the Brong Ahafo region, showing an example of how the Kintampo Project is putting mental health workers in each of Ghana's 200+ districts.

Many programmes such as this have been and gone in the past, so a real focus for the Kintampo Project has been on sustainability. It is essential that the education and development of community mental health workers in Ghana continues into the future. By training workers with locally relevant qualifications, and offering real career progression and opportunities for continuing professional development, we are making sure an excellent mental health workforce is here to stay....... and it's working!