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Professor Abe Fekadu Wassie

Prof Abebaw Fekadu Wassie

Professor Abe Fekadu Wassie

Professor in Global Mental Health
T: +251 (0)11 878 7311
Location: CDT-Africa, Library Building, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 9086, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Areas of expertise: Mood disorders, Clinical trials, complex interventions, psychopharmacology 

Research areas: Implementation of complex interventions, detection of depression, mortality in mental disorders, treatment-resistant mood disorders

Other relevant positions: Head, CDT-Africa (Centre for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa), Addis Ababa University 



Dr Abe Fekadu is a Clinical Professor of Global Mental Health and Head of the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Therapeutic Discovery (CDT-Africa) at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, where the BSMS is a knowledge partner. Abebaw is also an African Research Leader (the Medical Research Council/DfID, UK) and fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. In addition, he serves on various committees and advisory boards, including WHO, Lancet Commission and Journal editorial boards. Abe graduated in Medicine from Addis Ababa University and trained in Clinical Psychiatry in Cardiff and at the Maudsley (UK). He has obtained a certificate in clinical psychopharmacology (British Association for Psychopharmacology, UK), MSc degree (Cardiff University) and PhD (Umea University). His research interests are in clinical trials, complex interventions, mood disorders and knowledge translation. 



Abe leads several clinical trial and complex intervention studies. CDT-Africa, a World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence that he leads supports both capacity building and research in drug, vaccine, diagnostic and complex intervention studies. The PRIME-Ethiopia project that he also leads has made mental healthcare accessible to 180,000 people of the Sodo District in south Ethiopia. This service is being scaled up to the whole of the Gurage Zone, a population of nearly 1.5 million. Abe has been part of the Butajira project on severe mental disorders (SMD) since its inception 20 years ago. This project is the largest single site prospective study of severe mental disorders in any low and middle-income country. Abe has also led the development of research instruments, including the Maudsley Staging Method, which is considered to be the leading multidimensional staging method for treatment-resistant depression at present. He has been recently granted the African Research Leader award. As part of this award, Abe will be exploring approaches to improve detection of depression in Ethiopia. Abe has been part of over 15 projects since 2010, with a total grant of over $30 million and has published more than 100 articles. 

Selected publications

Fekadu A, Hailu A, Makonnen E, Belete A, Yimer G. Short-term impact of celebrating the international clinical trial day: experience from Ethiopia. Trials. 2017 Jul 17;18(1):332. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-2081-6.

Agyepong IA, Sewankambo N, Binagwaho A, Coll-Seck AM, Corrah T, Ezeh A, Fekadu A, Kilonzo N, Lamptey P, Masiye F, Mayosi B, Mboup S, Muyembe J-J, Pate M, Sidibe M, Simons B, Tlou S, Gheorghe A, Legido-Quigley H, McManus J, Ng E, O’Leary M, Enoch J, Kassebaum N, Piot P. The path to longer and healthier lives for all Africans by 2030: the Lancet Commission on the future of health in sub-Saharan Africa. Published Sept 13, 2017 (

Liu NH, Daumit GL, Dua T, Aquila R, Charlson F, Cuijpers P, Druss B, Dudek K, Freeman M, Fujii C, Gaebel W, Hegerl U, Levav I, Laursen TM, Ma H, Medina-Mora ME, Nordentoft M, Prabhakaran D, Pratt K, Prince M, Rangaswamy T, Shiers D, Susser E, Thornicroft G, Wahlbeck K, Wassie AF, Whiteford H, Saxena S. Excess mortality in persons with severe mental disorders: a multilevel intervention framework and priorities for clinical practice, policy and research agendas. World Psychiatry. 2017;16(1):30-40

Fekadu A, Hanlon C, Medhin G, Alem A, Selamu M, Giorgis TW, Shibre T, Teferra S, Tegegn T, Breuer E, Patel V, Tomlinson M, Thornicroft G, Prince M, Crick Lund. Development of a scalable mental healthcare plan for a rural district in Ethiopia. British Journal of Psychiatry (Supplement), 2016; 208, s4–s12. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.153676.

Fekadu A, Hanlon C, Thornicroft G, Lund C, Kaaya S, Alem A, Gureje O, Cleare AJ, Patel V, Prince M. Care for bipolar disorder in LMICs needs evidence from local settings. Lancet Psychiatry 2015; 2(9):722-723.

Ng LC, Hanlon C, Yimer G, Henderson DC, Fekadu A. Ethics procedures in global health research: the need for balance. Lancet Global Health 2015; Sep;3(9):e516-7. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(15)00095-9.Fekadu A, Medhin M, Kebede D, Alem A, Cleare AJ, Prince M, Hanlon C, Shibre T. Excess mortality in severe mental disorders: a 10-year population-based cohort study in rural Ethiopia. British Journal of Psychiatry 2015; 206, 289–296.

Fekadu A, Mesfin M, Medhin G, Alem A, Teferra S, Gebre-Eyesus T, et al. Adjuvant therapy with minocycline for schizophrenia (The MINOS Trial): study protocol for a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Trials. 2013 Nov 27;14:406. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-14-406.

Fekadu A, Wooderson SC, Markopoulou K, Cleare AJ. The Maudsley Staging Method for treatment-resistant depression: prediction of longer-term outcome and persistence of symptoms. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70(7):952-7. doi: 10.4088/JCP.08m04728.

Fekadu A, Wooderson S, Donaldson C, Markopoulou K, Masterson B, Poon L, Cleare AJ. A multidimensional tool to quantify treatment resistance in depression: the Maudsley staging method. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;70(2):177-84.

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