WHO Azerbaijan expands its mental health and psychosocial support activities
With funding mainly from EU’s Solidarity for Health Initiative and UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, WHO Azerbaijan trained 98 mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) professionals since late 2020 in response to the increased needs of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 51 of them participated in the training of trainers programs and are currently training their peers in the country. As a collaborative effort Columbia University and Queen Margaret University, 32 MHPSS professionals were joined the online training programs at these educational institutions. Moreover, as a collaborative effort of EMDR Azerbaijan and the WHO Country Office, 15 professionals started their certificate programme in EMDR therapy.
WHO Azerbaijan also included MHPSS components into all COVID-19 response projects and employed MHPSS professionals to address immediate needs in 5 conflict-affected districts of Azerbaijan. Additionally, psychologists and social workers will soon be deployed to support patients in long-term mental health care facilities of the Ministry of Health and Social Services Agency across the country.
To discuss the interim results of these MHPSS capacity development activities, an online event was held that brought together participants of the training initiatives of WHO Azerbaijan, representatives of the Columbia University and Queen Margaret University, MHPSS professionals from the Ministry of Health, TABIB, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Social Services Agency and local and international NGOs with whom WHO Azerbaijan extensively cooperated to strengthen MHPSS capacities to address the surge of needs during the emergency period.
It was mentioned that all achievements made so far are the product of the comprehensive teamwork of WHO’s national and international partners, project donors, and individual MHPSS professionals. The participants expressed their readiness to continue working in the same team spirit for new initiatives to further strengthen MHPSS capacities in the country to address its longer-term needs.