SOMALIA

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    Habeb Mental hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia

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    Ahlu-Kheyr Public Mental Hospital, Mogadishu

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    Ahlu-Kheyr Public Mental Hospital, Mogadishu

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    The Mental Ward at Hargeisa Group Hospital is a terrible place but the building, staff, and patients have received some hope in the form of support from GRT, a small Italian NGO that is trying to rehabilitate infrastructure as well as patients. Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    Mariam Hassan, Head Nurse of the Mental Ward at Hargeisa Group Hospital. Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    Hargeisa Group Hospital. Somaliland

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    In Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, there are 7 private clinics ‘treating’ people with mental disability. They house at least 600 patients. I went to see 4 of these institutions. All but one used chains. In 2 of the clinics up to 80% of the patients were shackled. Treatment at these places is the bare minimum – they are in fact businesses that take advantage of desperate families and a population denied a say in their care. The families of patients pay up to $US120 a month. A large sum in Somalia. For this the patients receive some food and some medication. What I saw were often confused people crowded into dark spaces on dirty mattresses lined up side by side. Many told me they wanted to leave but were not allowed to. One articulate young man agreed he needed treatment “I am sick” he said, “you put sick people in hospital, not a prison.” Hargeisa

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    Many Somalis will take their mentally ill relative to traditional or Khoranic healers for treatment. Mogadishu, Somalia

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    Hargeisa Group Hospital. Somaliland

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    Hargeisa Group Hospital. Somaliland

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    A private clinic in Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    33 year old Khadar Mohamed Farah lives in a tin shack in an IDP camp in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He has been in chains for 11 years. 24 hours a day 7 days a week he is locked up. Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    A private clinic in Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    An elderly woman is brought chained into Galkayo Mental Health Centre in Puntland. 44 year old Fatima Farah is a British trained Counseling Psychotherapist at Galkayo Mental Health Centre in Puntland “people still attach a huge stigma to mental health, they don\'t know how to handle mental ill patients, they chain them, they isolate them, they take them to any source of spiritual healers and all of that; and the last thing they result to is bring them here for medication. I’ve seen patients who have been ill for the last 7 years and have never been taken to a mental hospital. I\'ve seen people who have been brought in chains and you think like they have been possessed by some evil spirit, and you just tell them look they are just sick, they just need medication, treat them like someone who has a headache and that\'s all.” Her facility is a zero tolerance for chains. Regardless of the patients state of mind, all chains are removed at the gates. Galkayo, Puntland

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    13 year old Ahmed Adan Ahmed spends his days walking in circles, or sitting running his hands through the sand at his feet. For 10 years he has been tied to a stick under the tarpaulin of a tent in and IDP camp in Galkayo. His mother Fawzia sees no other option – if she doesn’t tie him he will run away. Refugee Camp, Galkayo, Puntland

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    10 year old Hosni Abdi Khalif with his aunt Hodan Abdi Khalif, 24. His mother is dead and his father doesn’t work. Hargeisa, Somaliland

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    A nurse at Galkayo Mental Health Centre in Puntland comforts a patient. Galkayo Mental Health Centre in Puntland

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    Said was a taxi driver in a part of Mogadishu that the war had yet to reach. Then the war came and with it the banditry and chaos that followed. Said was held at gunpoint and robbed. He thought he was going to die. That experience pushed him over the edge. His family fled the fighting. Leaving all they owned behind. Now living under pieces of cloth his younger brother, Omar, takes care of Said. “it has been 20 years I have been taking care of him. I left everything in life just to take care of him because I cannot leave him like that. I have to chain him because if you leave he won\'t come back. Everything comes from God. This happened to us. We have to be patient”. Refugees Camp, Galkayo, Puntland

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    Said was a taxi driver in a part of Mogadishu that the war had yet to reach. Then the war came and with it the banditry and chaos that followed. Said was held at gunpoint and robbed. He thought he was going to die. That experience pushed him over the edge. His family fled the fighting. Leaving all they owned behind. Now living under pieces of cloth his younger brother, Omar, takes care of Said. “it has been 20 years I have been taking care of him. I left everything in life just to take care of him because I cannot leave him like that. I have to chain him because if you leave he won\'t come back. Everything comes from God. This happened to us. We have to be patient”. Refugees Camp, Galkayo, Puntland

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    Mogadishu’s Medina Hospital sees as many as 700 war wounded patients a month. Mogadishu, Somalia

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    Former Somali government building in Mogadishu. Somalia’s fragile government has no budget for mental health. The TFG State Minister of Health Dr Mahamud Sheikh Hassan says the country is in crisis. He is very aware of the trauma his people are suffering. He says that while the will to make things better is there the resources are not. Mogadishu, Somalia

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    Hargeisa Group Hospital. Somaliland

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