Introduction: Mental health is poorly covered in the training of health care providers in Nepal. This all the more worrying as it is also culturally a difficult topic to discuss. This makes it hard for front-line health workers, especially non-mental health specialists, to start a discussion about mental health issues with patients. This paper reports of our UK-funded programme to train community health worker such as Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) on mental health issues related to pregnancy in one southern district of Nepal.
Our first aim was to assess the content of the curricula for ANMs and for Nursing in Nepal on the coverage of mental health and maternity care issues to help identify the future training needs, and offer improvements in the ANM curriculum.
Methods: A desk-based study, using a Content Analysis of the current curricula in Nepal for the undergraduate training of Nurses and ANMs. The Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) approved this study.
Result: Our review suggests that there is basic material included on both mental health and maternity care but little on the combination of the two topics. There is a need for more communication skill, teaching and counselling at all levels of nursing. Our knowledge of the causes of perinatal mortality and mental ill health have significantly improved over the past few decades. Hence, it is essential to change the mental health training to reflect today’s society’s need.
Conclusion: We highlight the importance of designing an appropriate curriculum on mental issues in pregnancy and childbirth to the relevant education authorities in Nepal.