Original Research

A retrospective data analysis of psychiatric cases in Hargeisa, Somaliland between 2019 and 2020

Hassan Abdulrahman, Stephanie Bousleiman, Mustafe Mumin, Ibrahim Caqli, Baraa A. Hijaz, Bizu Gelaye, Gregory Fricchione, Zeina Chemali
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a1946 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.1946 | © 2023 Hassan Abdulrahman, Stephanie Bousleiman, Mustafe Mumin, Ibrahim Caqli, Baraa A. Hijaz, Bizu Gelaye, Gregory Fricchione, Zeina Chemali | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 June 2022 | Published: 27 February 2023

About the author(s)

Hassan Abdulrahman, College of Medicine and Health Science, University of Hargeisa, Hargeisa, Somaliland
Stephanie Bousleiman, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
Mustafe Mumin, College of Medicine and Health Science, University of Hargeisa, Hargeisa, Somaliland
Ibrahim Caqli, College of Medicine and Health Science, University of Hargeisa, Hargeisa, Somaliland
Baraa A. Hijaz, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
Bizu Gelaye, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States; and The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States
Gregory Fricchione, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States; and The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States
Zeina Chemali, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States; and The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States; and Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

Abstract

Background: In Somaliland, an estimated one person in every two households suffers from psychiatric disorders. Despite this, access to mental health care is limited because of shortages in facilities, human resources, funding and stigma.

Aim: To present the proportion of psychiatric disorders encountered in outpatient psychiatry clinics.

Setting: The University if Hargeisa (UoH), Hargesisa, Somaliland.

Methods: De-identified data on patients accessing psychiatric care from doctor trainees in the dual psychiatry–neurology residency program at UoH from January 2019 to June 2020 were included in the analysis. The Institutional Review Board from UoH approved data collection and analysis. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were summarised overall and by sex and age.

Results: A total of 752 patients were included in the analysis. Most were male (54.7%), with an average age of 34.9 years. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were schizophrenia (28.0%), major depressive disorder (MDD) (14.3%) and bipolar disorder type 1 (BD1) (10.5%). When stratified by sex, patients with schizophrenia and BD1 were more likely to be male (73.5% and 53.3%, respectively), and those with MDD were more likely to be female (58.8%). Trauma- and stressor-related disorders accounted for 0.4% of cases, while 0.8% of patients presented with substance use disorders (alcohol and khat), which is an underestimate of the widespread use in Somaliland.

Conclusion: Additional research using structured clinical interviews is needed to determine the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders and promote policies aiming to decrease neuropsychiatric mortality and morbidity.

Contribution: This work presents the first data collection related to neuropsychiatric disorders in Somaliland.


Keywords

global health; mental health; psychiatry; developing countries; Africa; Somaliland; dual residency programs; unmet need.

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