Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 143–153 | Cite as

Lay Health Workers’ Experience of Delivering a Problem Solving Therapy Intervention for Common Mental Disorders Among People Living with HIV: A Qualitative Study from Zimbabwe

  • Dixon ChibandaEmail author
  • Frances Cowan
  • Ruth Verhey
  • Debra Machando
  • Melanie Abas
  • Crick Lund
Original Paper


There is growing evidence supporting the use of lay health workers (LHWs) to address the treatment gap for common mental disorders (CMD) through task-shifting. This study looks at the experience of LHWs delivering a problem solving therapy (PST) intervention for CMD for people living with HIV (PLWH) in a primary health care setting. Semi-structured interviews of LHWs (n = 7) and PLWH (10) who received PST were carried out using thematic content analysis. Over a 4 year period LHWs developed indigenous concepts of PST which were: Opening the mind (Kuvhura pfungwa), uplifting (kusimudzira), strengthening and strengthening further (kusimbisa and kusimbisisa) respectively. Using terms locally conceived through knowledge sharing amongst LHWs made it acceptable to deliver PST as part of their daily work. Indigenous terms conceived and developed by LWHs to describe components and processes of PST contribute to the therapy’s acceptability and continued use in primary care facilities.


Common mental disorders Problem solving therapy Lay health workers HIV 



This study was supported through a Grand Challenges Canada Grant Number GMH 0087-04.

Author Contribution

DC was responsible for the design of the study conducting interviews, analysis of data and drafting of first draft leading to the final manuscript. FC was responsible for reviewing the design and reviewing of second and final draft. DM was responsible for conducting interviews, transcribing of data and review of the third draft. RV was responsible for analysis, coding of data of the interviews and review of the first and last draft. MA was responsible for reviewing the design of the study and review of final draft. CL was responsible of reviewing the design of the study, first draft and all subsequent drafts leading to the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics approval was obtained from all relevant boards.

Conflict of Interest

All the authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dixon Chibanda
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Frances Cowan
    • 2
  • Ruth Verhey
    • 3
  • Debra Machando
    • 4
  • Melanie Abas
    • 5
  • Crick Lund
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe
  2. 2.University College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Zimbabwe Aids Prevention Project, Department of Community MedicineUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe
  4. 4.Women’s UniversityHarareZimbabwe
  5. 5.Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  6. 6.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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