Friday, 18 October 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 26

Wednesday 16th October


Today is the second day of the Eid public holiday celebrations. I meet Dr. Jibril at 08:00 sharp to plan a proposal for the further integration of psychiatry to the medical student curriculum. This is something that has been discussed in both Hargeisa and Borama, with senior faculty members. We decide to write a Powerpoint presentation to clarify the details in our own minds. The challenge will be who leads the students whilst they are on their clinical attachments in psychiatry and this is something we spend some time thinking together about. This will be the first time psychiatry is included on the medical student curriculum as a discrete clinical attachment and so, if it comes to fruition, it is very exciting for the Universities and also the students. 

At present, they only get the 2 week psychiatry teaching course that KTSP delivers in close collaboration with local colleagues, and it is recognized that this time period is very short. To give the students the opportunity to follow up patients for a period of a number of weeks would be a fantastic opportunity – to give them insight into the patient journey, to deepen their understanding of mental disorders and their impact upon patients, their families and the wider community, and to give them the opportunity to perhaps face their own prejudices and fears regarding mental illness. It is also a great opportunity to give medical students more time to get involved in psychiatry and perhaps it will lead to changed views about the specialty in general and a further willingness to liaise with psychiatry colleagues when they enter other specialties such as medicine and surgery. 

We email our proposal to members of faculty, the THET team, in both Somaliland and London, doctors on the ground and UK colleagues. There is the potential for this to go ahead this year, if logistically it is feasible. We look forward to their responses. We also discuss Jibril’s upcoming residency  and how we may collaborate on writing a couple of papers together. It is exciting working with Dr. Jibril; he has endless enthusiasm for psychiatry and really inspires others around him.