The networking component aims to develop and maintain collaboration between researchers, NGOs and government agencies that facilitates the translation of research knowledge into policy and practice and to collaborate with other regional hubs. This is addressed through on-going discussions and meetings and through sharing experiences in the capacity building and research components. An annual meeting of the 4 regional hubs facilitates this process. Within AFFIRM, the regular Management group meetings have and will continue to provide a collegial platform for sharing ideas within the AFFIRM hub and discuss key research matters arising from the formative phase of the South African and Ethiopian trials.
The AFFIRM project has also started having some reach and impact on various policies and bodies:
Ethiopian National Mental Health Strategic Plan (2012): AFFIRM partners have been active in drafting, providing data and now pilot testing this plan, through the TaSCS trial.
South African National Mental Health Policy and Action Plan (July 2013): AFFIRM partners have been active in drafting and supporting the adoption of this plan, with Crick Lund being a member of the team developing this action plan at the National Department of Health. The results of the AFFIRM trials will be fed back into the further development and implementation of this action plan.
Crick Lund and Atalay Alem were actively involved in the development of the draft WHO AFRO Regional Mental Health Action Plan, together with other colleagues in the region. AFFIRM findings can be streamlined into these plans as well.
WHO recommendations: optimizing health worker roles for
maternal and newborn health