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The role of psycho-education in improving outcome at a general hospital psychiatry clinic in Uganda

E Prost
S Musisi
ES Okello
WM Hopman


Objective: While psychoeducation has been shown to positively affect outcomes in psychiatric disorders, its utility has been little studied in developing countries. The current study sought to examine the role of psychoeducation at a general psychiatric outpatient clinic in Kampala, Uganda in improving clinic attendance, treatment adherence, and clinical outcomes.

Method: A prospective casecontrol study using a quasi-experimental design was conducted in 117 patients suffering various psychiatric disorders. Participants were recruited for two months and then followed for a further three months after recruitment ended. Participants in the intervention group received formalized psychoeducation sessions at each clinic visit in addition to the usual psychiatric evaluation and care. Participants in the control group received the usual clinical care. Measured outcomes were knowledge of mental illness, compliance with medications and follow-up, and Clinical Global Impression (CGI).

Results: The groups did not differ with respect to sociodemographic
characteristics or attendance at scheduled follow-up visits. Both groups significantly improved on the CGI, but with no significant difference between the groups. However, the intervention group was more likely to adhere to medication, and their knowledge of mental illness was significantly higher at follow-up.

Conclusion: These data suggest that psychoeducation is a beneficial mental health intervention in a developing country that may increase compliance with medication and result in greater knowledge of mental illness. However, other factors such as distance from a centralized clinic or cost of treatment may impact outcomes, including attendance at scheduled follow-up visits.

Keywords: Low and middle income countries; Outpatient treatment; Psychosocial interventions; Transcultural Psychiatry; Africa;  Psychoeducation