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Postnatal Depression: Malaysia ASPIRE Project

Principal Investigator: Dr Noor Ani Bt Ahmad

The Postnatal Depression project is part of the collaborative initiative of the Asia-Pacific International Research and Education (ASPIRE) Network. ASPIRE includes representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Mongolia, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong SAR, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei together with The University of Rochester, The University of Melbourne, and University of Oslo; and with support of WHO Western Pacific Office. 

This study aims to provide health related community–based data and information on postnatal depression and intimate-partner violence and will be conducted as a cross-sectional study of mothers with infants in the postnatal period (6-16 weeks). The mothers will be recruited from the government primary health care clinics throughout Malaysia. They will be invited to participate in a structured interview to assess sociodemographic factors, general physical and mental health, reproductive health, intimate partner relationship, coping and help-seeking patterns and child health status. 

In this study, postnatal depression will be assessed using the locally validated Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), while a standardised questionnaire from ASPIRE Maternal and Child Health Project, adapted from the Malay version of the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Life Events Questionnaire (Version 9.9) will be used to identify intimate-partner violence. 

Findings from this study is expected to provide a basis on the situation in Malaysia and will then be used to assess the necessity of a specific screening activity to identify postnatal depression and intimate-partner violence. Screening for postnatal depression is a common practice in developed countries with an established simple intervention activity by nursing staffs to manage those mothers with post-natal depression.