Wa maxay habarka caruurta moryaanta ah? Ileen ciil ba idiin haya. You lot should help your relatives at large in Mogadishu. Mogadishu - Crazy Town: The cure? Being locked with a hyena
BY JAMES REINL | SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 Crazy Town
After decades of civil war, Somalia is awash in mental illness and without a single trained psychiatrist. That the folk cure for PTSD involves being locked in a room with a hyena isn't helping
MOGADISHU — Mohamed Abdulla Hersi reclines on a foam mattress in the Habeb Rehabilitation Treatment Center's crowded mental ward.
Where is my M-16? My Kalashnikov?" he murmurs... his fatigues suggest he is an ordinary foot soldier -- and yearns to exit the locked compound and return to his comrades in arms. "I have more experience at the bad things," he says.
Somalia has among the highest rates of mental illness globally, affecting at least one-third of its estimated 10 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Rates are higher in Mogadishu and the turbulent south, where civilians have endured harsher stresses of war, drought, and instability. Many witnesses of bloodshed and atrocities face post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These sufferers roam free. Others are locked down, out of sight. Abubakar Mohamed Sheikhow, 23, was chained by his wrists and ankles in a metal shack for 12 months. Neighbors had restrained him after he violently attacked his mother.
Very few if any of the city's wild-eyed denizens receive treatment. On one street in downtown Mogadishu, a dreadlocked woman pulls down her dress and exposes her breasts. Locals say her husband and seven children perished from disease.
Elsewhere, a man grimaces by the roadside. In his hand is a bunch of khat, a socially accepted but addictive stimulant.
Under a nearby bridge, unemployed homeless men with bloodshot eyes rest on flattened cardboard boxes after a night's leaf-chewing.
Dowlay Hassaney, a 27-year-old schizophrenic, was chained to a bush in when health workers found her in 2011. Her husband had been apparently undeterred by her mental state: She gave birth three times during eight years spent shackled in the sun.
At the Mogadishu facility where Hersi lies, vacantly staring into space, mattresses are strewn across floors, squeezed into storerooms and onto porches. Patients while away the hours in idle gossip and argument, hunkered down under flimsy steel roofs.
Abdirahman Ali Awale (Habeb), who founded Mogadishu's first mental clinic in 2005, has been working feverishly over the years to improve and expand care.
"War and conflict is the biggest problem causing mental disorder," says Habeb, his vocal chords straining from the combination of a birth defect and near-constant yelling. "Nobody supports the mental ill people in Somalia."
Habeb looks exhausted and stressed. His son, Mohamed Alrahman Ali, worries that his father is overworked, that his diabetes, weight loss, and quick temper are worsened by helping Somalia's mentally ill. "I cry seven or eight times a day. I don't have any support. I am alone," says Habeb, his left leg jittering restlessly in a manner that resembles many of his patients.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2 ... s?page=0,0