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Dr Roxanne Keynejad

Roxanne float right

Dr Keynejad is the KSP Mental Health Co-Lead, alongside Dr Peter Hughes, and an Academic Clinical Fellow in General Adult Psychiatry at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She is a past president of King’s College London Psychiatry Society, former medical student representative on the Royal College of Psychiatrists Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee (PTC) and, in 2014, was named RCPsych Foundation Doctor of the Year.

As the president of KCL Psychiatry Society, Dr Keynejad helped design and trial a pilot peer-to-peer mental health e-learning course on the MedicineAfrica website. The project linked medical students at King’s College London with students at Hargeisa and Amoud Medical Schools. Partners proposed to name the project Aqoon, meaning ‘knowledge’ in Somali.  Dr Keynejad co-led Aqoon from 2009 to 2011 with Dr Jibril Handuleh and Dr Gudon Adam before handing over its organization to new coordinators when she graduated from medical school.

In 2015, Dr Keynejad was invited to join Dr Peter Hughes as KSP mental health co-lead. In this role she oversees a programme of mental health training and education for medical students and junior doctors in Somaliland, including regular face-to-face training for undergraduates, online case-based discussion tutorials and regular revision trips.

My involvement with KSP has given me experience of devising and evaluating a novel e-learning model and publishing the findings, of engaging in global medical education both remotely and face-to-face, of developing meaningful, lasting partnerships with colleagues in Somaliland and gaining leadership experience at a relatively early stage in my clinical training…. These experiences have all helped me to gain skills and confidence in areas which would have been difficult to access otherwise. In particular, KSP has helped me to identify a lifelong interest and engagement in global mental health.


Dr Aziza

Dr Aziza right

Like many doctors in Somaliland, Dr Aziza first encountered King’s volunteers as a medical student. Volunteers have supported Dr Aziza through a combination of face-to-face teaching, online courses, and as external examiners in her final exams. Volunteers are currently supporting her to turn a passion for psychiatry into a successful career. 

Dr Aziza has long been troubled by the severe neglect of mental illness in Somaliland.

Most people who suffer from any mental disability are treated very badly. They get chained at home or thrown out and ostracized from their communities.

However, it was not until her 5th year of medical school that she received psychiatry training. Like all 5th year medical students at the country’s two principal medical schools, Dr Aziza received face-to-face psychiatry teaching and revision courses from King’s psychiatrists. Although this training has aided her work as a junior doctor, there are no formal postgraduate training opportunities in Somaliland for Dr Aziza or her peers to pursue careers as psychiatrists.

It was difficult. Sometimes feels like being a single person without a Somaliland university or organisation to back you up. As you know, one hand can’t clap alone. King’s provides me support, but there are nearly no jobs for psychiatrist in Somaliland

In the absence of a formal programme, King’s provides opportunities for junior doctors to gain experience, and advance their careers in neglected specialties. Dr Aziza was made honorary King’s mental health representative, a voluntary position responsible for supporting King’s in-country psychiatry work. She also took part in King’s online Mentoring Programme. Both of these programmes have provided opportunities for continuous professional development, including discussions about clinical issues or cases, teaching, research, audit, career development, ethical dilemmas and professional behaviour.

In the space of a few years, Dr Aziza has gone from being a student taught and examined by King’s to teaching and examining students with King’s. Having completed the course herself in 2012, Dr Aziza was a co-tutor on the 2015 undergraduate psychiatry course, teaching alongside volunteer psychiatrists from King’s. She hopes to put the clinical and non-clinical skills she has developed into practice to foster and inspire the next generation of medics whilst achieving her career goal of becoming a psychiatrist, trained and employed in Somaliland .

Comparing to 10 years ago there has been improvements for psychiatry in Somaliland. The medical community and also the public have become more open. It is slow, but it is better. Somaliland is getting more open and developed fast. There are many good young doctors that could make the difference.


Professor John Rees

John Rees float right

Professor John Rees is the volunteer lead of King’s Somaliland Health Professionals' Education Group, and has been volunteering with the Partnership since 2011. Professor Rees is emeritus Professor of Medical Education at King’s College London School of Medicine and was academic lead for the intercalated-BSc in Global Health. At the end of 2010 he retired both as Dean of Undergraduate Education at the King’s School of Medicine and as a respiratory and general physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Rees has a long standing interest in medical education and extensive expertise gained running a large undergraduate medical programme at King's College London School of Medicine with 450 undergraduate students annually. He has postgraduate educational experience as an educational supervisor and as an examiner and Censor of the Royal College of Physicians (London).

Professor Rees’ interest in global health stemmed from experience in evaluation and assessment of medical education in UK and abroad; he has evaluated and advised on medical programmes in Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Sierra Leone, Cyprus and Somaliland. He has been an external examiner in University of Hong Kong, University of the West Indies, Sudan Postgraduate Board, Kuwait Postgraduate Board, Sri Lanka Postgraduate Board, Zambia, and UAE, and has given invited lectures on medical education in Sudan, Syria, Japan, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Somaliland and Dubai.

In Somaliland, Professor Rees has been instrumental in medical faculty training as well as OSCE examination support. He also played a key role in the establishment of undergraduate medical student logbooks, and continues to support Somaliland’s Internship Committee, which organizes training and supervision for junior doctors in their first year of practice.

The most rewarding part of the partnership has been to get to know deans at the two medical schools and see their staff and students develop. Many of those now teaching students and delivering clinical care are graduates from the last few years. With each visit you get to understand more of the problems and the resourcefulness of the faculties in Somaliland.  Steadily they have been able to take on more responsibility for the preparation, delivery and analysis of their examinations.

They have started an educational development centre and a research structure. On the last visit, 11 education projects were presented at a conference devoted to health professional education.  The relationships developed with repeated visits builds confidence on both sides between individuals and institutions. In turn, this allows more progress through contact between visits, and enables work to start promptly on return trips.


Dr Abdirahman Obsieyh

Dr Obsieyh

Having practiced medicine in the region for over 20 years, Dr Obsieyh joined the faculty at Amoud College of Health Sciences in 2010. As an experienced clinician and trained Ophthalmologist, Dr Obsieyh has much to offer his students.  He has been teaching the ophthalmology course at Amoud since 2005, and took on the role of Clinical Coordinator in 2015, in which role he is responsible for supervising medical students and supporting them to learn in clinical environments. Although he continues to practice clinical medicine, Dr Obsieyh is most proud of his work as a teacher, and his social media pages are covered in photographs of his students graduating as doctors.

Despite a passion for teaching, Dr Obsieyh had never received any professional training before he met volunteers from KSP through his role at Amoud. While it is common for clinical teachers in high income countries to receive periodic training in effective teaching and assessment techniques, this is something that is rarely done in Somaliland. Dr Obsieyh has taken part in formal ToT (Training of Trainers) programmes with King’s, taught by Professor John Rees, former Dean of King’s College London Medical School. He has also had the opportunity to work alongside the King’s external examining teams to hone his approach to student assessment. 

I greatly enjoyed the seminars it was very helpful and we got many, many benefits from [Professor John Rees]. He introduced many things to us. How to plan the lectures, and how to evaluate and assess the students. One of the really positive things I remember was how to get feedback from your learners. We are planning this year to make an evaluation of our lectures. So we will be preparing some questionnaires for feedback from the students.


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