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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Planet Mars

Day 6  -  University of Amoud Visited University of Amoud, which is about 5 kilometres outside town and appears remote to me. It looks like we are on planet Mars.. 

They have now built a new hospital here, which is funded by Somali diaspora and other donations. The hospital is modern, clean and equipped but still not open officially. There is a dedicated room for mental health clinics. Future plans include a small mental health unit for about 15 patients within the hospital grounds. It will provide short term care - around one week for acute stabilisation - and will essentially be for people who are tied up at home. The area is remote but probably Boroma town will expand to stretch this far.

Boroma has its British history, as the British were colonisers of Somaliland. The British laid a first stone in the University in 1952. However, they were not allowed to live in Boroma town or even be buried in the area.

My colleagues delight in the varied bird life around here.


Boroma stone
Graduation celebration Friday eveningAll seven students, three resits and one nurse graduate. We listen to speeches from local elders, clan leaders, and many others. I estimate over 12 speeches. The new graduates are dressed up and with their proud families. There's a flood of cameras and photographs.

Edna Aden, one of Somaliland’s most famous residents, gives a speech. She has sponsored a few of the students through medical school here in Amoud University. Edna is head of the Edna Aden Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa. She gives a stirring, tear-filled speech. The emotion is clear and strong, even though I don’t understand Somali language.

Edna is one of the big figures in Somaliland who supports women’s rights and is against the female genital circumcision which is endemic in the region. She has done a huge amount for the people of Somaliland through her maternity hospital and other activities. It is always a pleasure to meet such an inspirational figure.

Amoud graduation

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Re: Planet Mars
Dear Peter,
I just found this blog. Congratulations on all your work! There is so much more to mental health than we see in the UK! There is certainly a planet full to do elsewhere! it would be great if you could visit us here in Turkey when you have a chance.
Lots of love, Ferhal
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About this Blog

Dr Peter Hughes - consultant psychiatrist








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.


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