Internet based telepsychiatry
Both Somalia and the Republic of Somaliland have some of the best telecommunications in Africa. This offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve mental health services in Somaliland. This report will outline the experiences of a pilot project implementing Skype-based tele-psychiatry in Somaliland.
There are no functioning mental health structures, mental health policies, or even budget allocation for mental health in Somaliland. Persons with mental health issues are commonly abused in both public areas and in government hospitals. There is only one state psychiatric hospital located in Berbera, with a capacity of 40 beds for a country with a population of about 3.5 million people. The hospital was originally built as a prison by the British in late 1920s. The Hargeisa Group Hospital also has a psychiatric ward, with about 60 beds. Neither hospital has any facilities for children or adolescents. The occupancy rate of both hospitals is 146%. Both hospitals suffer from huge shortages of psychotropic drugs and trained personnel. Moreover, there are only two psychiatrists in the country, neither of whom are working in government facilities.
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