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Fourth Annual PCAF Psychotrauma Conference
Nairobi, Kenya: July 11–15, 2011

The five-day conference was an inspiring event. Funded and organized by PCAF in collaboration with the Africa Mental Health Foundation (AMHF), it is Africa’s only multi-disciplinary conference on psychological trauma in war-affected societies. This year’s theme was Mental Health Policy and Practice on Psychotrauma: African Solutions to African Problems. Featured speakers, leading experts in global mental health, included Dr. Pamela Collins of the National Institute for Mental Health; Dr. Vikram Patel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Dr. Ricardo Araya of University of Bristol; Dr. Theresa Betancourt of Harvard School of Public Health; and Dr. Allen Keller and Dr. Hawthorne Smith of the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture. This year’s conference also included twice-daily break-out sessions for intensive training workshops for PCAF’s staff from Uganda and Rwanda. To increase awareness of the desperate need for mental health services, PCAF rotates the conference location every two years. We thank Dr. David Ndetei of AMHF for two very successful years in Kenya, and expect to hold the Fifth PCAF Psychotrauma Conference in Dar es Saalam, Tanzania, July 2012.

Soroti Clinic Dedication
On July 7th, PCAF celebrated the move of its Tororo, Uganda clinic to Soroti District Government Hospital. The festivities began with a march through town led by a brass band with a group of over 100 men, women and children carrying banners to announce the arrival of mental healthcare. Speeches by dignitaries, including a Member of Parliament, the Uganda Minister of Mental Health and other district leaders, were followed by testimony by local trauma victims, traditional dancing and a community feast.

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"Michael," a formerly abducted child soldier, came to the Gulu Clinic with flashbacks and severe insomnia. He said he was being pursued by a spirit. For six years Michael (not his real name) had been forced to fight in one of the cruelest rebel groups on earth - the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. He was instructed to murder and in each case was forced to drink the victim's blood to "internalize" him. Shortly after killing his last victim, he was rescued by government troops and returned home, not having the opportunity to ritualize the murder .This was the spirit that haunted him. Following therapy at the Peter C Alderman Gulu Clinic, Michael is now productively in school.

©2012 Peter C. Alderman Foundation