Original Research

Systematic mapping on availability, extent and distribution of mental health research in Malawi

Genesis Chorwe-Sungani, Felix Chisoni, Ditress Nyirongo, Japhet Myaba, Anthony Sefasi, Jonas Sagawa, Grace Sibande, Costantine Chaima, Eluby N. Katola, Febbie Jamieson, Lucy Kululanga, Diana Jere
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 28 | a1810 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v28i0.1810 | © 2022 Genesis Chorwe-Sungani, Felix Chisoni, Ditress Nyirongo, Japhet Myaba, Anthony Sefasi, Jonas Sagawa, Grace Sibande, Costantine Chaima, Eluby N. Katola, Febbie Jamieson, Lucy Kululanga, Diana Jere | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2021 | Published: 07 December 2022

About the author(s)

Genesis Chorwe-Sungani, Department of Mental Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Felix Chisoni, Library Department, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Ditress Nyirongo, Department of Mental Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Japhet Myaba, Department of Mental Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Anthony Sefasi, Department of Mental Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Jonas Sagawa, Department of Community Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Grace Sibande, Department of Community Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Costantine Chaima, Library Department, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Eluby N. Katola, Department of Community Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Febbie Jamieson, Department of Community Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Lucy Kululanga, Department of Community Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
Diana Jere, Department of Mental Health, School of Nursing, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi


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Abstract

Background: Mental health research is essential in the implementation of evidence-based interventions. This can be impeded by unavailability or limited access to local evidence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Malawi.

Aim: The aim of this systematic mapping was to describe the availability, extent and distribution of mental health research conducted in Malawi.

Setting: The study was conducted at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Malawi.

Methods: A systematic search of four electronic databases from inception to September 2021 was carried out. All published and unpublished mental health studies in all languages were eligible for inclusion. Studies were screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria, and data were extracted, analysed and presented in tables and as a narrative synthesis.

Results: Cross-sectional studies (33.6%, n = 76) were found to be the most common study design for mental health research in Malawi. More studies were conducted on women (21.2%, n = 48) compared to men (1.3%, n = 3). Mental health research was concentrated in the southern region of the country (44.8%, n = 120) and in the three cities of Lilongwe (17.9%, n = 48), Blantyre (16.4%, n = 44) and Zomba (9.0%, n = 24).

Conclusion: This systematic mapping suggests that there are few studies on mental health in Malawi which are not equally distributed across the country. There is a pressing need to conduct more mental health research using robust designs across disciplines.

Contribution: Research on mental health is urgently needed to produce culturally acceptable data in Malawi.


Keywords

Malawi; systematic mapping; mental health; research; evidence.

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