Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 2

Day 2 – 19th September 2013


An early start in the THET office to meet with the team to discuss my schedule for the next 8 weeks. The time will fly by I have no doubt, as every day is planned out.  Dr Mariam, a member of the mental health group, also joins the meeting. She has been busy organizing participants for the Mental Health Training Skills course we shall run next week in Hargeisa. I work alongside Samatar to get the resources we will need ready, and we discuss how we might manage a potential of nearly 70 5th year medical students to teach at the end of my trip. I communicate via telephone and email to Dr Jibriil in Borama, who is working hard to prepare those in Borama for the upcoming courses. 

Having conducted a final Skype interview yesterday for a potential applicant for the yearly position of mental health rep, we make the final decision today. Mental health reps are two newly qualified doctors, who are chosen annually via a competitive and standardized application process and who will take an active role in the teaching of psychiatry to medical students later in the year, as well as take a lead role in the advocacy of mental health in Somaliland. They are offered mentorship from seniors in the UK via the platform Medicine Africa and so gain added skills in team work, leadership, teaching and management, all of which are integral to any career they may later choose in Medicine/ Surgery. This extended trip of mine means that I will be available to work more closely with them prior to the annual medical student teaching, which this year will occur earlier than usual in October. 

I finish up my day by talking with Naj, a Somalilander who currently lives in London and is a documentary film maker. She is currently working alongside THET to develop a documentary detailing their work and my journey, with others who shall follow me. We map out potential opportunities during my trip for filming and we arrange to meet on Sunday for our first interview.