Friday, 18 October 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 26

Tuesday 15th October

Today is the Eid public holiday. The place is packed with people, families and children all wearing bright colourful clothing. The praying began early this morning and feasting follows the day of fasting yesterday. It is wonderful to see families celebrating and children running around freely. It is customary for each family to slaughter an animal, usually a sheep or a goat on this day to eat together; it is about family and inclusion.

I spend the day making amendments to a paper I have written with Dr. Peter Hughes that has now been peer reviewed and will be re-submitted, hopefully to be published.  It is based upon our work here in Somaliland and so this is an exciting thing to be doing whilst I am here in country.

I meet up with members of the faculty and Dr. Jibril later in the evening for a celebratory dinner. It’s great to hear that many members of faculty are extremely keen to continue with the TOT courses we have now piloted and in particular would like to see more of these such courses for senior members of faculty. I am delighted to hear that the Head of Medicine shall be attending the psychiatry teaching for medical students next week. It demonstrates a keen interest and a willingness to consider psychiatry in other specialties. Liaison is important here and Dr. Jibril and this doctor already act in liaison, referring each other patients that they feel may benefit from cross-specialty input. This is very positive and something that will inevitably improve the care of people with mental disorders.  Cross-specialty management may also help to break down the barriers that exist between mental health and other medical/ surgical specialties. It will also hopefully reduce the stigma associated with psychiatry and mental health in general that exists in many different places in the world, even among health professionals.