Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mental Health training in Somaliland - Day 1

Delivering Psychiatry Training in Somaliland

Dr Lauren Gavaghan is a Specialist Psychiatrist and Mental Health lead for the King's THET Somaliland Partnership (KTSP). She is spending eight weeks in Somaliland as a volunteer teaching Mental Health (MH) to medical students and delivering a Training of Trainer (TOT) course for MH focal people and Medical Faculties.

Everyday until the 8th November Dr. Gavaghan will be posting a new diary entry on the THET blog page to give readers a unique insight into delivering mental health training in Somaliland. 

Here's the first...

 Day 1 - 18th September 2013

Arriving from Nairobi on the ECHO humanitarian flight was a familiar journey this time. I have visited Somaliland twice before as a volunteer, working alongside THET, though only for 2 weeks at a time. This time my trip is for 2 months. I am excited, yet also a little nervous given the longer time period and the fact that this time I leave the UK alone- with co-workers arriving later on during my trip to work with me.

I am pleasantly surprised by the new runway at Hargeisa airport, which makes for a softer landing than in May when we landed in the bush.

As always, I am greeted at the airport by the driver from THET, who rapidly teaches me some Somali on the way to the THET office, which I rapidly forget!

I meet the team, most of whom I have met before and at once feel at home again. Samatar, the Logistics and Security Officer runs me through a further security briefing and the logistics of my extended trip. I also meet with Thomas the Programme Manager and Wario, the Country representative.  A number of emails and phone-calls later, and I have plans for the following day, to meet with members of the Core Mental Health Working group, a group made up of doctors who have an interest in mental health, many of whom have been mental health representatives in the past and continue to advocate for better mental health in Somaliland. 

Students in Somaliland receiving mental health training

To find out more about THET's work in Somaliland, visit our Somaliland Programme page.