Testing the Feasibility of a Complex Intervention for Perinatal Mental Health in The Gambia


BACKGROUND: Perinatal mental health problems affect up to one in five women worldwide. Mental health problems in the perinatal period are a particular challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where they can be at least twice as frequent as in higher-income countries. It is thus of high priority to develop new low-cost, low-resource, non-stigmatising and culturally appropriate approaches to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression perinatally, for the benefit of both mother and child. Music-centred approaches may be particularly useful in The Gambia since a range of musical practices that specifically engage pregnant women and new mothers already exist. METHODS: This protocol is for a study to examine the feasibility of undertaking a stepped wedge trial to test how a Community Health Intervention through Musical Engagement (CHIME) could be beneficial in alleviating perinatal mental distress in The Gambia. In this study, we plan to recruit 120 pregnant women (n = 60 intervention, n = 60 control) at four antenatal clinics over two 6-week stepped sequences. Women in the intervention will participate in weekly group-singing sessions, led by local Kanyeleng singing groups, for 6 weeks. The control group will receive standard care. We will assess symptoms of anxiety and depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20). The feasibility of the design will be assessed through recruitment, retention and attrition rates of participants, clinics' adherence to the schedule and completeness of data by site. Qualitative interviews and video and audio recordings will be used to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention. DISCUSSION: This feasibility trial will allow us to determine whether a larger trial with the same intervention and target group is feasible and acceptable in The Gambia. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Retrospectively registered (24/01/2019) with Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR): PACTR201901917619299.