Studying the context of psychoses to improve outcomes in Ethiopia (SCOPE): Protocol paper

PLoS One. 2024 May 9;19(5):e0293232. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0293232. eCollection 2024.


Background: Global evidence on psychosis is dominated by studies conducted in Western, high-income countries. The objectives of the Study of Context Of Psychoses to improve outcomes in Ethiopia (SCOPE) are (1) to generate rigorous evidence of psychosis experience, epidemiology and impacts in Ethiopia that will illuminate aetiological understanding and (2) inform development and testing of interventions for earlier identification and improved first contact care that are scalable, inclusive of difficult-to-reach populations and optimise recovery.

Methods: The setting is sub-cities of Addis Ababa and rural districts in south-central Ethiopia covering 1.1 million people and including rural, urban and homeless populations. SCOPE comprises (1) formative work to understand care pathways and community resources (resource mapping); examine family context and communication (ethnography); develop valid measures of family communication and personal recovery; and establish platforms for community engagement and involvement of people with lived experience; (2a) a population-based incidence study, (2b) a case-control study and (2c) a cohort study with 12 months follow-up involving 440 people with psychosis (390 rural/Addis Ababa; 50 who are homeless), 390 relatives and 390 controls. We will test hypotheses about incidence rates in rural vs. urban populations and men vs. women; potential aetiological role of khat (a commonly chewed plant with amphetamine-like properties) and traumatic exposures in psychosis; determine profiles of needs at first contact and predictors of outcome; (3) participatory workshops to develop programme theory and inform co-development of interventions, and (4) evaluation of the impact of early identification strategies on engagement with care (interrupted time series study). Findings will inform development of (5) a protocol for (5a) a feasibility cluster randomised controlled trial of interventions for people with recent-onset psychosis in rural settings and (5b) two uncontrolled pilot studies to test acceptability, feasibility of co-developed interventions in urban and homeless populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / psychology
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders* / therapy
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population

Grants and funding

This study is funded by Wellcome Trust ( grant 222154/Z20/Z awarded to CH (PI), AA, AF, EM, ST, TR, CM, CL, SM, AC. The funder and the sponsor (KCL) did not play any role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.