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Witness
Myths And Medicine
Some societies still regard mental illness as an evil curse rather than a medical problem.
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2009 16:26 GMT



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Conditions such as schizophrenia and depression were once considered taboo but are now openly discussed in most societies.

Yemeni-born filmmaker Amani Zain traveled back to her city of birth, Aden, where Western medicinal advances have made little impact.

Rather, people are forced to turn to traditional healers and witch doctors to get treatments which are at best, hit and miss.

Zaid is a 30-year-old Somali refugee. He lives in Aden with his mother. He suffers from schizophrenia.

For years, Zaid's mother has tried to get him the proper treatment and support he needs, but has been unsuccessful.

He used to be a top student in school, and as a teenager went through a period of rebellion. But instead of growing out of what would have seemed like a troubled phase, Zaid's behaviour went from bad to worse.

He became violent and destructive, and even started to cut himself. His mother believes he has demons. Zaid believes that god made him the way he is: simply mad.

Amani decided to look at the treatment options available for Zaid.

His mother takes him bi-monthly for injections which seem to calm him down.

He used to receive treatment at Aden's only neuropsychiatric hospital – but the hospital proved to be a far from pleasant experience.

Exploring other options, Zaid's mother takes him to a traditional healer to see if perhaps he has been given the 'evil eye', a curse which many Yemenis believe in.

Myths and Medicine can be seen on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 0830 and 1900; Wednesday: 0330, 1400 and 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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