Original Research

Opportunities and obstacles to screening for perinatal depression among women in Zimbabwe: A narrative review of literature

James January, Moses J. Chimbari
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 24 | a1127 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v24i0.1127 | © 2018 James January, Moses J. Chimbari | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2017 | Published: 28 August 2018

About the author(s)

James January, Department of Psychiatry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Moses J. Chimbari, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: The perinatal period provides an opportune time for health care providers to screen for and proffer interventions for women suffering from depression. However, routine screening for depression is not done in primary care settings in Zimbabwe.

Aim: This narrative review discusses opportunities and obstacles surrounding screening for perinatal depression in primary care settings in Zimbabwe, with a view to stress the importance of routine screening to policy-makers.

Methods: Both electronic and manual searches were done on PubMed, PubMed Central, African Journals Online, Google Scholar and the University of Zimbabwe Institutional Repository (UZIR) using the following key terms: ‘women and antenatal depression’, ‘prenatal depression’, ‘postnatal depression’, ‘postpartum depression’, ‘depressive disorder’, or ‘common mental disorder’ and ‘screening and Zimbabwe’.

Results: Although opportunities for depression screening are possible because of the high antenatal and postnatal service coverage, the potential for universal screening is fraught with human and financial resource constraints, lack of training in mental health care among primary health care providers and lack of locally validated screening tools for depression.

Conclusion: There is a need to channel resources into the training of midwives and other primary health care providers on mental health issues affecting women perinatally.


narrative review; postnatal depression; screening; women; Zimbabwe


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Crossref Citations

1. Transmission dynamics of depression in socially connected population: A nonlinear modeling study
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doi: 10.1142/S1793962321500410