Monday, 30 September 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 12

Sunday 29th September

I join the team and head into the office to prepare some of the medical student teaching.  Whilst at the office, I have a meeting with two doctors from Somaliland, who have been undertaking Masters courses in Ethiopia. They are here for the next two weeks, carrying out data collection for some research they are doing as part of their programmes – looking into attitudes of healthcare workers towards mental illness. In 4 months time, they shall both return to Somaliland and will no doubt be an incredibly valuable asset to their country. They will be specialists in mental health and this is very much needed in Somaliland where there are currently no psychiatrists. We discuss the issue of supervision and their potential involvement in the supervision of the final year medical students and junior doctors, which is a very important subject at present here. We review some potential learning outcomes that may potentially form part of the 6th year medical student portfolios in the future, should psychiatry be included as a discrete module on their final year curriculum. 

It is an absolute pleasure to meet two such enthusiastic and energetic doctors, who have a passion for mental health. They have also developed research experience which is very valuable, as there is currently little in the way of epidemiological or other data where mental health is concerned. These two are keen to commence some research when they return which would be great for Somaliland. This is exactly what is required here and we agree to keep in contact in the time they are here and beyond, to try and work together to help them in their tasks ahead.


The afternoon is spent teaching the final year medical students. Today we discuss and practice how one might break bad news in a medical/ psychiatry consultation and think about how one would approach this task in an examination scenario.