Training of Free State nurses commenced on a beautiful sunny Friday in January 2020. The Free State MEGA team conducted two training workshops, one on 31 January 2020 and another on 7 February, at the School of Nursing, University of the Free State.
The six-hour workshops covered two main topics, firstly training on a variety of mental health-related themes as contained in the MEGA training handbook developed by Hamburg and Turku Universities of Applied Science partners; and secondly how to use the MEGA mobile application (app), developed by our partners at the Riga Technical University, for the purpose of assessing for mental health problem onset in youth. Collectively, the eight Free State nurses trained, work in a variety of primary health care (PHC) facility departments, including HIV&AIDS/antiretroviral treatment (ART); tuberculosis (TB); integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI); maternal and child health; antenatal care; family planning; and the chronic and the acute conditions departments. Ten to 19-year olds visiting facilities for a wide variety of purposes will, therefore, be screened with the app. Our nurses expressed excitement to be part of the research. The Free State team experienced difficulty recruiting participants to implement the app in PHC facilities, due to severe understaffing. As a result, the pilot group in the Free State is quite small. However, despite these challenges, the MEGA team here is determined to make a great success of the pilot project over the next six months.