In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 3 persons living with HIV has significant depression symptoms which interfere with their ability to take anti-retroviral medications. There is no care for depression in HIV treatment programs which means that affected individuals continue to struggle with poor health and socio-economic outcomes. To put an end to this struggle,
Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu MD, PhD- a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the Makerere University, School of Medicine, developed Group Support Psychotherapy (GSP) which not only treats depression but also improves the social and economic wellbeing of affected individuals.
This intervention was evaluated in a Randomized Controlled Trial and results published in the Lancet HIV indicate that it is effective in managing depression for people with HIV and depression. In order to make this intervention accessible and sustainable in rural poor populations, Dr. Nakimuli-Mpungu has received grants from MQ Transforming Mental Health and Grand Challenges Canada to support her efforts in training lay health workers that deliver HIV treatments in rural northern Uganda to also recognize and deliver group-psychotherapy for depression. In 2016, this work earned her national and international praise: She was honored by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with the Presidential National Independence Medal of Honor on 8 March – International Women’s Day. She was also one of five recipients of 2016 Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World.
Dr. Nakimuli-Mpungu has shown her strength as a clinician and mental health researcher over the past 10 years through her service at the Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital (2001 to 2012) and through several mental health research projects in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa whose results are highlighted in several publications in peer reviewed journals. She completed her medical degree, and Master of Medicine in Psychiatry at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences in 1998 and 2006 respectively. In 2012, she attained a doctoral degree in psychiatric epidemiology from John’s Hopkins University, USA. Other awards she has won include the Fulbright Science & Technology Award for PhD studies (2007) and International AstraZeneca/ APIRE Young minds in Psychiatry Award for demonstrating exceptional promise in psychiatric research (2005).