Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Mental health training in Somaliland - Day 43

Sunday 3rd November

Today is a day spent in the office, finalising the written report of the last two weeks teaching. Before this, I have breakfast with Mary-Jo and Eqbal and we all go to a local shop to search for camel bells to take back for friends as souvenirs. It feels rewarding to reflect on the last 2 weeks and in fact the last 2 months I have spent in Somaliland and I realise just how much I have managed to do in this time. I started by leading, with local colleagues, two TOT mental health skills training courses for interns and other health practitioners including nurses, in both Hargeisa and Borama. Then, with local colleagues, led revision teaching for the 6th year medical students in both Hargeisa and Borama and simultaneously worked in partnership with local colleagues and both University Faculties on integrating further psychiatry into the medical students curriculum as a stand-alone clinical attachment. This included developing appropriate learning outcomes for the attachment and organizing suitable people to lead this project, both on the ground and also in UK, via the online learning platform Medicine Africa. This has now been accepted and shall start in November, which is a very exciting prospect as never before have the medical students had psychiatry as a clinical attachment.


The last month has been spent in Borama, and the past two weeks has been taken up with the annual teaching of the 5th year medical students. Next stop, Berbera! Tomorrow we shall travel up north to undertake a needs assessment of the mental health services available there, in order to see whether THET might be able to offer any assistance with training and in other ways.