Fight Against Stigma programme breaks barriers to mental health care
With initiatives in eight countries in scope of the Index, Sanofi works to change attitudes and practices on mental health.
Armenia, Bolivia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mali, Myanmar, South Africa
Mental health and epilepsy
workers, raising public awareness, educating patients
To improve access to and quality of mental healthcare
Across the world, nearly 800 million experience a mental health disorder such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety or a bipolar disorder.* A further 50 million people have epilepsy.** Discrimination and stigmatisation prevents many of these individuals from getting the care they need. In low- and middle-income countries, other barriers to treatment include lack of training and insufficient resources. Where effective treatment does exist in these countries, up to 85% of those with mental health disorders and epilepsy do not receive this.***
In 2008, Sanofi established the Fight Against Stigma (FAST) programme to improve access to care for people in low- and middle-income countries with mental health disorders or epilepsy. With the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP), it has launched initiatives in more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia and South America, of which eight are in scope of the Index.
FAST works to reinforce mental health capacity in low- and middle-income countries by training primary healthcare providers, raising public awareness and educating patients and their families. Its programmes run for a specified period of time and through these, FAST seeks to change attitudes and practices. It works to ensure sustainability by engaging with local health authorities, experts, patient associations, NGOs and other partners.
Patient outcomes and impact
Since FAST began, more than 132,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy have been diagnosed and/or treated. In addition, more than three million have been reached through awareness and educational activities and more than 10,000 healthcare workers have been trained, with general practitioners (GPs) increasing their knowledge of mental health. In Mali, for example, where FAST has operated since July 2018, 19 GPs attended 10 days of face-to-face training workshops. Eight became trainers themselves. In the 18 months to December 2019, these trained GPs have diagnosed and managed 1,841 new patients.
Sanofi demonstrates best practice in this initiative as it meets the Good Practice Standards. It publicly discloses its FAST outcomes and works with the national ministries of health to enable the latter to integrate training into national mental health and epilepsy programmes for continuing professional development (CPD). For the FAST access initiatives it has concluded in Madagascar, Myanmar and Armenia, it is undertaking scientific evaluations through a three-year partnership with the Institute of Epidemiology and Tropical Neurology (University of Limoges) to measure its impact. Sanofi also expands FAST to new countries on a continuous basis, making it a scalable initiative.