Dr Akin Ojagbemi



Dr Akin Ojagbemi, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Host institution: Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain

Improving the mental health of older people in Africa


Dr Akin Ojagbemi

“AREF is supporting my long term goal is to help develop and expand access to mental health services for the elderly living in Nigeria and Africa.”

Learning Implementation Science at the Autonomous University of Madrid towards developing an Intervention for Depression in Geriatric populations with diagnostic Overlaps (Towards INDIGO)

I am a Lecturer in Old-age and Neuropsychiatry at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and a consultant in Old-age Psychiatry at the University’s teaching hospital. I qualified as a psychiatrist in Nigeria; in the final year of specialist training, I was awarded the New Partnership for Africa’s Development scholarship for a PhD in Neuropsychiatry at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). I received postdoctoral training from Northwestern University (USA) and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

For the one-year AREF Fellowship, I will undertake a developmental programme towards the careful adaptation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed Mental Health Global Action Program-Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) for use in the identification and treatment of late-life depression. The mhGAP-IG is a generic clinical support tool to aid non-specialists in the provision of evidence-based care for priority mental health conditions, including depression.

I will be supported by Professor Oye Gureje (Department of Psychiatry, University of Ibadan) and Professor Jose Luis Ayuso-Mateos (Department of Psychiatry, Autonoma University Madrid). Both sponsors have worked collaboratively for many years as members of the WHO international Advisory Group on Mental and Behavioural Disorders, and this cross-continental partnership will be energised and expanded further through AREF.

By the end of the Fellowship, I hope to have developed the skills and network required to deliver an independently funded project of strong impact. I also hope to grow an international reputation as a leader in the development of psychosocial interventions for the mental health of older adults living in Africa.

What is mhGAP?

Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders are common in all regions of the world, affecting every community and age group across all income countries. While 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to these disorders, most of the people affected – 75% in many low-income countries – do not have access to the treatment they need. The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries especially with low- and middle-income. The programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide and begin to lead normal lives– even where resources are scarce. http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/en/

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