Ahlu-Kheyr Public Mental Hospital, Mogadishu, Somalia. Many Somalis will take their mentally ill relative to traditional or Khoranic healers for treatment. Photo Robin Hammond/Panos. May, June 2011, Somalia.
Robin Hammond‘s photo series entitled “Condemned” aims to expose the cruel and terrible treatment of mental patients in East Africa and raise awareness world wide. The human rights photojournalist originally traveled to South Sudan to document the birth of the young nation.
During one of his trips, he visited Juba Central Prison. There, he encountered mentally ill patients suffering from the trauma of prolonged war and who were now being neglected for lack of trained medical personnel and proper facilities. It was then that Hammond decided that his mission was to document the condemned mental patients of the region. Unfortunately, Hammond found the same issue all over East Africa due to years of war, conflict, rape, and famine. The period of violence and desolation is so long, that an entire generation of people have been born knowing only conflict and suffering. With no proper treatment available, the mentally ill are typically chained up or locked away from society. Children are sometimes even abandoned. Hammond’s goal is to raise worldwide awareness of the situation in hopes it will lead to positive action.