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Joining psychiatric care and faith healing in a prayer camp in Ghana: randomised trial

  • A. Ofori-Atta (a1), J. Attafuah (a2), H. Jack (a3), F. Baning (a4), R. Rosenheck (a5) and the Joining Forces Research Consortium...
Abstract
Background

Care of people with serious mental illness in prayer camps in low-income countries generates human rights concerns and ethical challenges for outcome researchers.

Aims

To ethically evaluate joining traditional faith healing with psychiatric care including medications (Clinical trials.gov identifier NCT02593734).

Method

Residents of a Ghana prayer camp were randomly assigned to receive either indicated medication for schizophrenia or mood disorders along with usual prayer camp activities (prayers, chain restraints and fasting) (n = 71); or the prayer camp activities alone (n = 68). Masked psychologists assessed Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) outcomes at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. Researchers discouraged use of chaining, but chaining decisions remained under the control of prayer camp staff.

Results

Total BPRS symptoms were significantly lower in the experimental group (P = 0.003, effect size –0.48). There was no significant difference in days in chains.

Conclusions

Joining psychiatric and prayer camp care brought symptom benefits but, in the short-run, did not significantly reduce days spent in chains.

Declaration of interest

None.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Robert Rosenheck, Department of Psychiatry, Yale Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Email: robert.rosenheck@yale.edu
Footnotes
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See editorials, pp. 6–8 and 9–10, this issue.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Joining psychiatric care and faith healing in a prayer camp in Ghana: randomised trial

  • A. Ofori-Atta (a1), J. Attafuah (a2), H. Jack (a3), F. Baning (a4), R. Rosenheck (a5) and the Joining Forces Research Consortium...
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