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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 266-271

Recognition of Mental Health Problems by Primary Care Physicians in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Nigeria

1 Department of Family Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria
2 Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
N E Udonwa
Department of Family Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aims and Objectives: This study sought to determine the difference in detection of attendees with mental health problems visiting the General Out-patient clinic of a tertiary institution; the General Health Questionnaires (GHQ-12) were compared with those identified by the physicians. Patients and Methods: Three hundred and twenty two (322) subjects aged 18 years and above, attending the clinic for the first time, were recruited for the study by a systematic random sampling method. Using a cut off score of '3' on the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), 'Cases' and 'Non-cases' generated were compared with those identified by the doctors. Identification rates for both groups were calculated and the coefficients determined using a two-by-two contingency table. Results: The GHQ-12 identified 46.6% 'cases' while the General Out-patient Clinic (GOPC) doctors identified 6.8% with a diagnostic sensitivity of 8% and a specificity of 94% Conclusion: Despite the high proportion of mental health problems in the GOPC of the hospital, the detection rate by the clinic doctors was low. There is a need for the use of an easy tool like the GHQ-12 for screening and identification of attendees with mental health problems especially in a busy clinic setting .

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