There is growing recognition that the mental health of mothers is a crucial public health issue in South Africa and that mental ill-health is strongly associated with poverty. This policy brief outlines the current maternal health services in Cape Town; the cycle of maternal mental distress; and the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) launched in September 2002 at Liesbeeck Midwife Obstetric Unit (MOU) at Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Cape Town. It is argued that mental health care needs to be integrated on site within the maternal care environment at the primary level. A series of recommendations are made.
Mental Health and Poverty Project Policy Brief No. 6, DFID, London, UK, 6 pp.