CONFERENCE REPORT: 6th Pan-African PCAF Psychotrauma Conference, 15th -18th July 2013. Kampala, Uganda.

Conference Report: resilience, treatment and prevention of violent conflict and trauma

This wonderful conference was sponsored by the Peter C Alderman Foundation (PCAF) in association with the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry. The conference focussed on trauma and how mental health professionals from all African countries could tackle the consequences of trauma and conflict, and of course consider how to prevent and eradicate political conflict and violence. It was a humbling experience to learn that the PCAF was founded in memory of Peter C Alderman who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. His family and parents established the PCAF to demonstrate Peter’s positive impact on the world during and after his life. PCAF supports high quality and culturally empowered trauma clinics in Uganda and Kenya, taking the care of their staff as seriously as the care of the patients attending the clinics. Much of the conference was reflecting on this theme, how to support and help staff manage this difficult work without becoming traumatised themselves. The World Association of Cultural Psychiatry symposium consisted of talks on preventing violent radicalisation, trauma amongst refugees and resilience, the psychological consequences of facial trauma following violence or following cancer surgery, and the political conflict in Somalia. The 500 strong body of delegates from all over Africa were committed and determined to gather best practice, learn from each other and to support each other in this worthy, delicate and difficult work with victims of trauma. In a most powerful session, victims of traumatic violence told their own stories of recovery, of how they survived and overcame the greatest hurdles including loss and injustice. The compassion with which everyone conducted the clinical, academic, and service related debates was inspiring. Like all good conferences friends were re-acquainted and new friendships formed, with lasting hope of prevention and treatment of trauma to the highest standards. The meeting was attended by nursing, medical and psychology students, as well as professionals from around the world. The food was terrific, as was the social programme. Watch out for the programme for next year, and related events in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, and across Africa.

Kamaldeep Bhui
President World Association of Cultural Psychiatry
Public Health Lead, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Trustee of Careif (www.careif.org)

Conference website: http://www.pcafkampala2013.org.ug/”>http://www.pcafkampala2013.org.ug/

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