Acceptability and impact of group interpersonal therapy (IPT-G) on Kenyan adolescent mothers living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): a qualitative analysis

Obadia Yator, Lincoln Khasakhala, Grace John Stewart, Manasi Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Task shifting is a well-tested implementation strategy within low- and middle-income countries that addresses the shortage of trained mental health personnel. Task shifting can increase access to care for patients with mental illnesses. In Kenya, community health workers (CHWs) are a combination of community health assistants and community health volunteers and have played a crucial role on this front. In our study, we seek to assess the acceptability and feasibility of Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G) delivered by CHWs among depressed postpartum adolescents (PPAs) living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Method: The study used theoretical framework of behaviour change including: Capability, Opportunity and Motivation (COM-B model) to help understand behavioural changes due to IPT-G intervention delivered by the CHWs. 24 PPAs were administered IPT-G by trained CHWs from two health centres. A two-arm study design (IPT-G intervention and treatment as usual) with an intent to treat was used to assess the acceptability and feasibility of IPT-G. With purposeful sampling, participants who scored > 10 on the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale and who were 6–12 weeks postpartum were eligible for the study. Participants were equally distributed into two groups: one group for intervention and another as a wait-listed group. This was achieved by randomly allocating numerical numbers and separating those with odd numbers (intervention group) and even numbers (wait-listed group). Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews ascertained the experiences and perceptions of the PPAs and the CHWs during IP-G delivery process. In addition to weekly face-to-face continuous supportive supervision for the CHWs, the researchers also utilized phone calls, short messages services and WhatsApp instant messaging services. Results: The CHWs found the intervention useful for their own knowledge and skill-set. With regards to participation, 21 out of the 24 adolescents attended all sessions. Most of the adolescents reported an improvement in their interpersonal relationships with reduced distress and lessening of HIV-related stigma. Primary healthcare workers embraced the intervention by accommodating the sessions in their routine clinic activities. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the possible benefits of task shifting in addressing mental health problems within low-resource settings in Kenya, and IPT-G is demonstrated to be both acceptable and feasible by health workers and adolescents receiving care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number240
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Community health volunteers
  • Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • HIV-related stigma
  • Postpartum depression
  • Task shifting


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