The Scale up of the Friendship Bench intervention is planned in various stages:
1. Needs assessment and sensitization of all stakeholders
Team members visited all clinics and spoke to clinic staff and patients following an interview guideline
2. Devising and adjusting training material
The existing Friendship Bench trainings manual was reviewed and extended considerably to cater for a wider patient load presenting with additional disorders as defined by mental, neurological and substance use disorders. A facilitators’ handbook was written to ensure a structured teaching approach. Parts of the manual were translated into the local language Shona.
3. Training of facilitators and future supervisors
The clinical team consisting of psychologists and social workers of the Friendship Bench was extended, the group of facilitators and assistants were trained.
4. Training of lay health workers and evaluation
The training has just begun. Groups of 30 lay health workers are trained in three different venues in Harare: Harare Hospital Psychiatric Unit, Wilkins Hospital for infectious diseases and MRCZ offices.
5. Roll out and evaluation
In cooperation with Harare’s City Health Department, the intervention will be rolled out and evaluated scientifically with full approval of local medical research authorities (MRCZ).