PrimePRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME)

Funder: Department for International Development (DfID)

Total budget: £ 5,999,777

Time period: 1 May 2011 – 30 April 2019

CEO: Prof Crick Lund

Research Directors: Prof Vikram Patel, Prof Mark Tomlinson

The purpose of PRIME is to generate world-class research evidence on the implementation and scaling up of treatment programmes for priority mental disorders in primary and maternal health care contexts in low resource settings. PRIME will achieve its purpose by addressing three objectives in overlapping phases:

  1. In the Inception phase (May 2011 – April 2012) we will develop an integrated mental health care plan comprising packages of mental health care for delivery in primary health care and maternal health care in one district demonstration site in each country.
  2. In the Implementation phase (May 2012 – April 2014) we will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and impact of the packages of care in primary health care and maternal health care.
  3. In the Scaling Up phase (May 2014 – April 2017) we will evaluate the scaling up of these packages of care at the level of administrative health units (AHUs).

The objectives will be addressed in poor communities in Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Uganda and Nepal. Comparing experiences across these diverse settings, which include fragile settings, will enable PRIME to generate knowledge with local and international relevance. The outcomes will be:

  1. Increased uptake of findings to influence policy and practice in the study countries, other LMIC and by development agencies and donors, to support scaling up of mental health care in LMIC.
  2. Improved mental health, social and economic outcomes for: (a) populations in the Administrative Health Units (AHUs) in which the PRIME research programme will be carried out; and (b) other populations in which mental health services have been substantially scaled up, based on the outputs generated by PRIME.
  3. Sustainable research capacity in the participating country institutions to develop, undertake, and disseminate the research to implement and scale up mental health services.
  4. Sustainable partnerships for future collaborations between the international partners and, in each country, between academic partners, MoH and NGOs.


Institutional partners

PRIME is led by the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, with the following partners:

  1. Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
  2. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  3. Sangath, India
  4. Centre for Global Mental Health (Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), UK
  5. World Health Organization, Geneva
  6. Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
  7. Ministry of health, Madhya Pradesh State, India
  8. Ministry of Health, Nepal
  9. Department of Health, South Africa
  10. Ministry of Health, Uganda
  11. BasicNeeds, India
  12. HealthNet TPO, Nepal
  13. Public Health Foundation of India


Group Photo
4th Annual PRIME Meeting, Nepal