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Journal article

Disability in Somaliland

TOMLINSON Sally, ABDI Osman Ahmed
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 18(7), December 2003, pp.911-920.
Taylor and Francis,

Civil war lasting into the 1990s destroyed much of Somalia's economic, political and social structures, and conflict still continues in the southern areas of the country. In 1991, the northwest region declared itself the Independent Republic of Somaliland, established a government in Hargeisa and is struggling to rebuild an infrastructure. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking high on the UN hunger index, and is the third most heavily land-mined country. One of the most disadvantaged groups of people are the disabled, although there is little general information about numbers and kinds of disability, and few social and medical services. This article presents some limited information about the extent of the nature of disability, and local efforts to improve the lives of disabled children and adults. It reports projects funded by non-government organisations, and concentrates on a seminar held in early 2002 attended by a group of disabled people who made their voices heard.

Journal article

Migration ageing and mental health: an ethnographic study on perceptions of life satisfaction anxiety and depression in older Somali men in east London

Journal article citation:
International Journal of Social Welfare, 10(4), October 2001, pp.309-320.

This ethnographic study was carried out in the aftermath of an epidemiological investigation, the first of its kind, on the health and social status of Somalis aged 60 years and over living in Tower Hamlets, east London. The main aims of the study were to explore views on mental health and well-being and identify sources of stress and support so as to gain greater understanding of background factors of life satisfaction and depression in 'first-generation' older Somali migrants in Tower Hamlets (males). Face-to-face interviews were conducted among 28 males. Several factors were perceived to decrease life satisfaction and increase vulnerability to depression in male Somalis, in particular low family support in the face of increasing physical disability, loneliness, inadequate access to community services and inability to return home. Family support was the main buffer against depression; other coping resources were represented by religious practices and reliance on Somali peers. The study revealed multiple reasons for ill-being, in particular in people who had high expectations about medical and social care. Argues there is a need for social workers and other health professionals to advance discussions of mental-health issues in the community and for service providers to promote greater access to culturally relevant medical and social services for Somali elders in Tower Hamlets and strengthen their informal support networks.

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