Monday, 28 October 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 33

Wednesday 23rd October 

We began the psychiatry teaching in full force today, with lectures and discussions around history taking, mental state examination, suicide and risk assessment, as well as psychosis/schizophrenia. I am so impressed by the teaching skills of our co-tutors. Dr. Hodan leads our morning re-cap session and is excellent, well prepared, clear, audible, enthusiastic and informative. She began the day well and the students were clearly enthused by her teaching.

Dr. Abdirahman, one of this year’s mental health representatives gave a talk on how to take a history and perform a mental state examination and, again, had prepared well in advance. He was logical and clear in his approach and was able to answer questions from the students with no trouble at all. I was impressed by his ability to really push the students and test their learning. Dr. Zainab talked about suicide and risk assessment, a very sensitive topic in Somaliland, which she handled with ease and also with a great degree of insight, in terms of the local Somaliland context. She generated some very interesting discussion surrounding why people commit suicide or attempt suicide in Somaliland. We do a number of group exercises with the students which work well and it is great having nine of us to facilitate the group work. It means that the students have the opportunity to hear from different teachers and our co-facilitators this year include more intern doctors - Drs. Idiris, Hassan and Mustafe. 

Dr. Jibril is our lead co-facilitator this year, as an experienced previous mental health rep himself and his case histories and ability to talk about psychiatry in the Somaliland context is a great addition to the teaching. We learn from each other and for me, it makes the whole experience even more exciting, the more times I visit Somaliland, the more I learn about the culture and how psychiatry fits in within this context. We are also pleased to be joined by the Head of Medicine, who is curious to see how our teaching is organized and presented. And Faduumo and Su’ed, two mental health nurses who recently also attended the TOT training. The students enjoy the day and we end with Mandip leading discussions about psychosis and us utilizing the WHO mhGAP-IG to guide assessment and management of disorders. This is something we have used since last year and now underpins our medical student psychiatry teaching. I am reminded just what a privilege it is to be able to do this teaching, alongside my Somaliland colleagues, who have impressed me so much today. I can easily see these tutors as leaders in their chosen fields in the future.