Monday, 17 August 2009

Community-based Rehabilitation and Mental Health

An international workshop on "CBR and Mental Health" was organised just before the First Asia-Pacific CBR Congress held in Bangkok in February 2009. 50 persons coming from 20 different countries had participated in this workshop.

The full report on CBR and Mental Health can be downloaded from AIFO website in Word and PDF formats.

The main conclusions of this workshop were as follows:

Persons with mental illnesses are often surrounded by strong stigma and prejudice. Persons with mental illness and their families are often marginalised. Their human rights are often violated, they may be put into prisons like criminals and many countries have laws that violate their human rights. Some times, persons with mental illness are closed in old institutions and kept in inhuman conditions.

There are few mental health referral services and professionals in many developing countries. Similarly, community mental health programmes are very few and limited. Often persons with mental illness lack access to mental health services and face barriers including difficulties of accessing regular medication.

Many CBR programmes do not include persons with chronic mental illness in their work. There is lack of understanding, knowledge and skills about management of mental illnesses.

There are positive examples of CBR programmes showing great deal of convergence with community mental health programmes. Both are based on human rights approach. CBR is an effective and empowering approach for reaching persons with disabilities including persons with chronic mental illnesses.

There is need to develop capacities of persons with mental illness, their families, communities, primary health care workers and CBR workers about mental illnesses and how can persons manage them more efficiently at community level. CBR can be the vehicle to extend and support the community mental health services. CBR programmes have to make efforts to promote inclusion of persons with mental illness in their work.

CBR programmes work through active participation of persons with disabilities, who are supported to form user groups, self-help groups, peer groups and DPOs. Supporting and promoting user groups of persons with mental illness is an effective way to promote their active participation in the CBR programme. If user groups can play decision making role in all stages of CBR programme from planning, to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities, programmes can answer their real needs and it is empowering.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Inclusion of Disability in University Training Courses

You download the full publication by AIFO/Italy and Disabled Peoples International (Italy) on a training module to mainstream disability in graduate and post graduate level university courses (PDF format, 800 KB). This document was published in 2008 under the IDDC joint project on "Mainstreaming Disability" co-funded by European Commission.

Here is a brief extract from the introduction to this document:

Centuries of segregation and exclusion have impoverished persons with disabilities who face obstacles and prejudices in all aspects of life and communication; at the same time, society itself lost out in terms of its knowledge of and abilities regarding persons with disabilities, impoverishing itself in its solutions and support modalities towards the full participation of its members in community life. The role of education in the disability field becomes key in building inclusive and participative societies in which everyone can express themselves and exchange capacities and competencies and to build fruitful relationships.

This cultural transformation of the condition of persons with disabilities as been elaborated upon quite rapidly; from 1971 when the UN approved the first resolution on persons with mental retardation to 2006 when the Convention was approved, only 35 years have passed! In many ways, this transformation did not reach the academic world, and so there has arisen the need to develop training modules to introduce the new vision of persons with disabilities in university trainings.


Welcome to this blog on Learning Resources on Community-based rehabilitation (CBR). AIFO, an Italian NGO has been involoved in CBR programmes over the past 20 years and collaborates actively with Disability and Rehabilitation team of World Health Organisation (WHO/DAR).

The purpose of this blog is to introudce you to the different learning resources on CBR, available on the AIFO website.

Online learning resources on AIFO website also include materials on leprosy (including Leprosy Mailing List) and some materials on Primary Health Care & Development.