Violence Alcohol Treatment Zambia (VATU)

Project Title

Violence Alcohol Treatment Zambia (VATU)

The Organisation

 The Applied Mental Health Research Group (AMHR) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) & Serenity Harm Reduction Program Zambia (SHARPZ)

Geographic Location

Lusaka, Zambia

Summary of Intervention / Research

JHU and SHARPZ are collaborating to evaluate the effectiveness of a multipronged intervention in reducing violence against women and girls/youth (VAWG) by addressing a number of identified risk factors such as alcohol use, childhood abuse and domestic violence in Zambia.

The intervention consists of pairing an evidence-based therapy, Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA), with Community Alcohol Teams Zambia (CATZ), and an alcohol reduction program. CATZ, focuses on: 1) awareness of alcohol as a problem and its link to violence, and 2) gender norms at the individual, family and community level. The alcohol reduction program is paired with CETA, an intervention that is based on transdiagnostic models, which has been found to be both clinically effective and a potentially sustainable intervention in low resource settings that addresses many of the common challenges associated with wider implementation scale-up. CETA addresses the family dynamics surrounding violence exposure, while tending to the mental health consequences of violence.
In this program, CETA focuses on:

1) Substance use,

2) Positive parenting,

3) Positive family relationships, conflict management, and communication skills,        

4) Attitudes and beliefs about violence,

5) Mental health problems and

6) Reducing (further) traumatic experiences.

The study is taking place in three urban neighbourhoods in the city of Lusaka. Participants are the families living in these communities, including three individuals: an adult woman, her husband or partner, and one identified child (males and females, ages 8-17).

Family units are randomly assigned to receive CATZ/CETA or treatment as usual. CATZ/CETA is delivered in group format with approximately six participants per group. There are separate groups for men, women, and children. Groups run for 10-14 weeks and meet for 1-2 hours once a week.

The primary outcomes of the study are severity of violence against women and children and alcohol use. Secondary outcomes include aggression, mental and behavioural health and gender norms. In addition the study is using a biomarker of cortisol to examine change in stress levels of the men, women and children.

Major Timeframes

The project will run for 3 years beginning in April 2016 and end line results are expected in the first quarter of 2019

Related resources from the Evidence Hub

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Key Contacts

1. Laura Murray, Principal Investigator & Associate Scientist, Clinical Psychologist, JHU



2. Philip Chimponda, Principal Investigator & Executive Director SHARPZ