The research program entitled “A Screening Strategy for Maternal Depression: Construction and Health Economics Evaluation”, led by researcher Zheng Ruimin from the National Center for Women and Children's Health of the China CDC, won the APEC “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” Research Prize on Sept 7.
Based on a preliminary cohort study and field studies, Zheng’s team carried out a study on the screening strategies for maternal depression, aimed to developing an effective and low-cost intervention approach to screen maternal depression that is applicable and accessible in low and middle-income countries and regions, so as to help cope with multiple challenges in maternal mental health.
The study states that the screening of maternal depression should start in the early pregnancy. The depression status of pregnant women should be categorized based on screening results and those come back with positive results need to seek professional intervention in a timely manner. The medical services for mental health of pregnant women should be integrated into the routine health care during pregnancy and childbirth, according to the study.
The strategy will facilitate early identification and intervention of maternal depression and reduce its incidence.
The research also provides practical experience for other APEC countries, especially low and middle-income countries, in coping with the economic losses and disease burdens caused by maternal depression and improving the quality of mental health services for women during pregnancy and childbirth.
The APEC “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” Research Prize was established in 2019 and has since been awarded once a year to honor researches that can help policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders to improve women's health and promote their labor market participation.