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Indian J Med Res. 2014 Feb;139(2):236-45.

Enhanced care by community health workers in improving treatment adherence to antidepressant medication in rural women with major depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, St. John's Medical College & Hospital, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India.



Depression remains largely undiagnosed in women residing in rural India and consequently many do not seek help. Moreover, among those who are diagnosed, many do not complete treatment due to high rates of attrition. This study was aimed to compare the effectiveness of enhanced care with usual care in improving treatment seeking and adherence to antidepressant medication in women with depression living in rural India.


Six villages from rural Bangalore were randomized to either community health worker supported enhanced care or usual care. A total of 260 adult depressed women formed the final participants for the analysis. The outcome measures were number of women who sought and completed treatment, number of clinic visits, duration of treatment with antidepressant, changes in severity of depression (HDRS) and changes in quality of life [WHO-QOL (Brev) scale].


A significantly greater number of women from the treatment intervention (TI) group completed the treatment and were on treatment for a longer duration compared to the treatment as usual (TAU) group. However, there were no significant differences in the severity of depression or quality of life between the TI and the TAU groups or between treatment completers and treatment dropouts at six months.


Enhanced care provided by the trained community health workers to rural women with major depression living in the community resulted in greater number of women seeking help and adhering to treatment with antidepressants. However, despite enhanced care a significant number of rural women diagnosed with depression either did not seek help or discontinued treatment prematurely. These findings have significant public health implications, as untreated depression is associated with considerable disability.

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