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Primary healthcare workers could help to reduce the burden of common mental disorders in low-income nations
  1. Jane Fisher
  1. Jean Hailes Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Jane Fisher, jane.fisher{at}

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What is already known on this topic?

The greatest burden of the common mental disorders (CMD) of depression and anxiety is experienced by people living in low-income and middle-income countries.1 ,2 International expert groups believe that training primary healthcare workers to recognise people experiencing CMD and to implement standardised intervention packages is a priority for the reduction of this burden.1–3

What does this paper add?

  • The study improved on previous studies by using a cluster randomised controlled design, by focusing on harder to recognise, non-psychotic—rather than psychotic—disorders and by separating evaluation and training functions.

  • Workers who have not been trained are generally unable to recognise depression and anxiety in clinic attendees.

  • These data demonstrate that short, postservice structured training involving active learning opportunities can increase the capability of primary healthcare workers in low-income countries to diagnose CMD and to distinguish it from other conditions.


The study aim (stated only in the Abstract), to examine the impact of a mental health training package on …

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  • Competing interests None.