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Mobile phones, apps, throw lifeline to sufferers of brain and mental disorders in remote world corners

Grand Challenges Canada today announces 22 new projects to improve the quality of mental health care in developing countries.

Together, the projects extend a CDN $7.7 million (U.S. $7.2 million) helping hand to sufferers of brain-related disorders in developing countries the most neglected of neglected global health problems.

Funded by the Government of Canada, the 22 projects will creatively explore how to augment and amplify relatively meagre existing help available to mental health and brain disorder patients.

Thirteen of the projects include novel deployments of mobile phone technologies in several cases connecting specialists with mental health patients directly or with lay health workers identifying sufferers in some of the world's most remote corners.

And six of the projects offer help to the most vulnerable victims of all: children and youth, often shunned and brutally ostracized because of their problems.

Selected through independent peer review from 125 applications, the 22 projects break down as follows, by institution:

  • Canada: 8 (Toronto (4 projects), Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver)
  • Africa: 5 (Nigeria, Uganda, Union of Comoros, Ghana, Ethiopia)
  • Asia: 5 (India (3 projects) Laos, Pakistan)
  • Latin America / Caribbean: 4 (Guatemala, Colombia, Jamaica, Peru).

Project implementation will also involve activities in Kenya, Rwanda, Vietnam, Bhutan, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Says Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada: "Nowhere is the suffering of mental illness the most neglected of neglected diseases more neglected than in developing countries. Tackling the grand challenge of global mental health improves not only the lives of individuals but also their productivity. Improving mental health stimulates sustained economic growth of nations by investing in people."

Says the Honourable Christian Paradis,

Contact: Terry Collins

Lode Roels
Grand Challenges Canada


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Mobile phones, apps, throw lifeline to sufferers of brain and mental disorders in remote world corners
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