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Compr Psychiatry. 1993 Jan-Feb;34(1):10-3.

A study of mental morbidity among primary care patients in Nigeria.

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Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.


Psychological disorders among 272 primary care patients were assessed by a two-stage screening procedure, using the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the Present State Examination schedule (PSE). The prevalence of psychiatric disorder was 21.3%. Depressive neurosis (51.7%) and anxiety neurosis (36.3%) were the most common disorders. The older age group, females, and those who were either widowed, separated, or divorced were found to be more likely to suffer from psychiatric morbidity. Primary health care (PHC) workers were only able to detect 13.8% of the psychiatric cases identified in the study population. The GHQ-12 was shown to be a feasible screening instrument for psychoemotional disturbance in the primary care setting (sensitivity, 83.7%; specificity, 79.8%; minimum misclassification rate, 19.4%). Based on these findings, short- and long-term training strategies are suggested for PHC workers in developing countries to help improve their abilities to detect and manage common mental disorders in primary care settings.

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