Methods/design: The study design is a pragmatic, two-arm, parallel-cluster RCT, the unit of randomisation being the clinics, with outcomes being measured for individual participants. The 20 largest eligible clinics from one district in the North West Province are enrolled in the trial. Equal numbers of hypertensive patients (n = 50) identified as having depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) are enrolled from each clinic, making up a total of 1000 participants with 500 in each arm. The nurse clinicians in the control facilities receive the standard training in Primary Care 101 (PC101), a clinical decision support tool for integrated chronic care that includes guidelines for hypertension and depression care. Referral pathways available include referrals to PHC physicians, clinical or counselling psychologists and outpatient psychiatric and psychological services. In the intervention clinics, this training is supplemented with strengthened training in the depression components of PC101 as well as training in clinical communication skills for nurse-led chronic care. Referral pathways are strengthened through the introduction of a facility-based behavioural health counsellor, trained to provide structured manualised counselling for depression and adherence counselling for all chronic conditions. The primary outcome is defined as at least 50% reduction in PHQ-9 score measured at 6 months.
Discussion: This trial should provide evidence of the real world effectiveness of strengtheneddepression identification and collaborative management on health outcomes of hypertensive patients withcomorbid depression attending PHC facilities in South Africa.
- Primary health care
- Low- and middle-income countries
- Integrated health care