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This is the big day for me here. But Dr Jibil has run the show
and all goes like clockwork. We hope that Somalilanders can take
over the whole exam process and mental health teaching in time. We
run through our 6 OSCE stations first. A few minor adjustments. We
have a varied subject matter. We brief actors on how to be
psychotic, depressed, insomniac etc . There are a small group in
final med this year - just seven. The examiners are briefed. The
OSCEs have been rehearsed many times.
The OSCEs go brilliantly. All pass and do well. In my station
the actor gave a fantastic rendition of psychosis. We had a
sensitive sexual history OSCE which is always a highly sensitive
area in Somaliland and all did really well in this. We had a
Swedish Somaliland Psychiatrist visitor back from vacation to his
native Boroma and became examiner as well.
I feel confident and happy that these seven are now ready to use
their doctoring skills with a foundation of core psychiatric
knowledge and skills.
Exam meeting in afternoon. We establish the scoring and passing
of all the candidates with all external and internal examiners
present. Some of examiners have been my students within the past
few years bit have completed their internship. It is highly
professional and of an international standard.
Visit to the Fistula Hospital in the afternoon. We go to the
Fistula hospital as mentioned above. Having a fistula devastates a
woman’s life in this region. It is usually a consequence of the
dire obstetric services in the country. A girl is left incontinent.
More often than not her family disown here and she is left
destitute and abandoned by her husband. The fistula hospital runs
as a charity subsidised by some other surgical work. Dr Gause works
from about 4am every morning doing umpteen fistula repairs on women
which come from as far afield as Mogadishu in Somalia. It changes
the woman’s life.
She is able to return to a normality which was not possible before.
It is a surgical intervention that radically improves social and
psychological well being for Somali women. It is always moving to
see the work of Dr Gause in the Fistula Hospital and his devotion
to this charity. When Dr Jibril was there, I know he paid
particular attention to the psychological needs of the women there
which are significant.
Friday will be graduation ceremony where the candidates will be
there with the proud parents. And most of all I can get up late
Friday as a rest day. Looking forward to that.
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Dr Peter Hughes is a consultant psychiatrist
based at Springfield University Hospital, London. He has an
interest in international psychiatry and has been travelling to
Africa over the last five years doing short-term assignments in
mental health. He has recently flown to Somaliland to
work on a mental health programme.
This personal blog reflects Dr. Hughes' own
views and does not represent any Somaliland organisation in
the UK. However Dr. Hughes is indebted to KINGS-THET partnership
for providing an opportunity to take part in
this exciting project. He is grateful to Dr. Susie Whitwell
who leads the programme for mental health, and companions
Professor John Rees, Dr. Suleiman Yusuf, Helena Tabry from UK and
all colleagues in Somaliland.