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I met Julie who I can describe as a tornado of dynamism and
optimism sweeping through a severely necrotic ward. Julie is
experienced in this type of work. She has a background in Darfur,
arctic and other difficult areas. She covers this hospital and one
in Bossasso in Somalia.
I can’t keep up with her enthusiasm and drive. She is an
inspiration. We have tried over the years to change the ward. But
maybe sometimes you need a tornado.
This is a trial run for the next year’s finals. The
5th year students partake.
There are no psychiatry stations. However, I am examining in a
station where the doctor has to break the bad news of a HIV
diagnosis. There is work to do in improving the communications
skills here. Students tend not to give time to listen and don’t
allow the patient to express their sorrow and grief at the news. I
heard people say – this is actually good news! I don’t think
so. The exams, after a delayed start, run like clockwork.
The president of Hargeisa University has sadly been killed in
car crash so there is a sad atmosphere and the celebration for the
new graduates is cancelled for that night.
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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.