Despite the significant burden of common mental disorders (CMD) among women in sub Saharan Africa, data on postnatal depression (PND) is very limited, especially in settings with a high HIV prevalence. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a widely used screening test for PND has been validated in many countries, but not in Zimbabwe. We assessed the validity of the EPDS scale among postpartum women compared with Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for major depression. Six trained community counselors administered the Shona version of the EPDS to a random sample of 210 postpartum HIV-infected and uninfected women attending two primary care clinics in Chitungwiza. All women were subsequently subjected to mental status examination using DSM IV criteria for major depression by 2 psychiatrists, who were blinded to the subject's EPDS scores. Data were analyzed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Of the 210 postpartum mothers enrolled, 64 (33%) met DSM IV criteria for depression. Using a cut-off score of 11/12 on the Shona version of the EPDS for depression, the sensitivity was 88%, and specificity was 87%, with a positive predictive value of 74%, a negative predictive value of 94%, and an area under the curve of 0.82. Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the whole scale was 0.87.
Conclusion: The Shona version of the EPDS is a reliable and valid tool to screen for PND among HIV-infected and un-infected women in Zimbabwe. Screening for PND should be integrated into routine antenatal and postnatal care in areas with high HIV prevalence.