By: Edna Hospital
Somalilandsun – We are very pleased (but not surprised) to learn that Edna has been named among the 100 most influential Africans of 2013 by New African magazine. Edna joins other notable figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu; Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, first woman President of the African Union; Mo Farah Gold Medalist athlete and fellow-countryman; Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria Finance Minister. The list, which appears in the December 2013 issue, describes Edna as “at the forefront of the fight for women’s maternal health in Somaliland.”
Edna lost most of her family photos in the coup that overthrew her husband, the democratic Prime Minister; but just this week she recovered a photo of her father, “I am happy to have found a picture of my late father who remains to be my role-model to this day and was also the person who inspired me to build this hospital which I hope is the kind of hospital he would have liked to work in.
“I love the way his picture has been superimposed on the hospital and hope that I will accomplish a fraction of what he did during his service to our people when he was known as ‘The father of healthcare in British Somaliland Protectorate’.”
In case you missed it earlier, here again is Edna’s other news from the past year:
It’s hard to believe that 2013 is almost over – time flies when you’re busy and saving lives! During this holiday season, we at Edna Adan University Hospital want to take a moment to reflect upon the successes of the past year, learn from the frustrations and challenges we encountered, give thanks for our blessings and to all our friends and supporters while we look forward to 2014. Hence, our newsletter is longer this year so bear with us!
2013 in Review
Education and Training
Teaching and training young healthcare professionals remain a priority and are not new at Edna Adan Hospital as we’ve been training nurses, midwives, laboratory technicians and pharmacists since 2001. What is new is that we’ve now expanded into a university and opened our doors to more than 250 aspiring students who hope to become nurses, midwives, pharmacologists and public health specialists. The first year has been tough and challenging, but President Roda Ali Ahmed, the first and only woman who heads a university in our part of the world, and her dedicated team have created a university where young students receive quality education in a disciplined yet nurturing environment. Students take core subjects such as English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and religious studies before being split into their specialized fields.
Edna University offers practical sessions within the Hospital, taught by local and visiting experts, as well as field work at other institutions across the country. Our students are introduced to academic research; current students have conducted surveys on migration and health-seeking behavior of Somaliland citizens. With support from the Fistula Foundation, Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, NNM and Amoud University, we established a nurse-anesthetist training program. The class of seven students includes three young women, and all have progressed from the classroom to the operating theater over the course of the year and are now assisting surgeons with minimal supervision.
In addition, we have partnered with Amoud University and SOMDEV to receive one physician each month from among the doctors enrolled in the Postgraduate Family Physician course, which is the first such course in Somaliland
Our University opened its doors to a further 300 new students in November who are ready to embark upon their academic journey. The overwhelming success of the University is leading to physical changes to our campus as well. New classrooms have sprung up to accommodate our growth, and a new computer lab will be furnished and functional by the end of the year. Further growth is sure to come as we establish ourselves as a leading institute of higher learning.
Training programs within the Hospital itself continued as always. A new class of 41 remarkable young Community Midwives graduates in December and will be assigned by the Ministry of Health to be deployed to all corners of Somaliland where, in some cases, they will be the only skilled health workers for miles around. 2013 also saw the graduation of 46 young women and 11 young men from our three-year general nursing training course.
We continue our efforts to reduce and eventually to eliminate from this region the scourge of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Hospital Staff and Services
On the medical side, we remained extremely busy. In 2013, approximately 1400 women gave birth in the Hospital, including 200 by Caesarian section. We treated over 27,000 patients in total, either in the Hospital or in our Outpatient Clinic. Our dear friend Dr. Dick Bransford led five surgery camps at the Hospital this year, and fistula surgeon Dr. Lauri Romanzi joined us for two extended visits to give life and dignity back to women who suffer obstetrical fistula. During the surgical and fistula camps over 400 patients were operated on at no cost to them.
Sadly, we could not match our record of 2012 when we had ZERO maternal deaths and mourn the loss of three women during childbirth, as well as those in the medical and pediatric wards that we were unable to save.
Dr. Matt Jones and Dr. Joy Robinson of SOMDEV have brought much-needed expertise in the area of pediatrics and general surgery. Our own doctors, Dr. Said and Dr. Deeq, continued to shoulder senior responsibilities while Dr. Shukri and Dr. Naima continued their professional growth and development and received training to become the first national trainers on infant resuscitation. They also attended their first international event this year, the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) conference in Addis Ababa.
Dr. Naima continues to focus on obstetrics and gynecology while Dr. Shukri is turning into a talented surgeon who is very much in demand during surgery camps. Our hospital was supported by a mini-United Nations of volunteers, including generous individuals from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia, India, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
This year we also bid goodbye to Dr. Robert Thiel and his wife Jennifer who devoted several years to help the sick and the underprivileged population of Somaliland. We miss them and wish them well in their future endeavors.
We have received incredible support and generosity over the past year, as we have every year, and we want to express our deep appreciation toward the Government of Somaliland, particularly the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, and to all of our international friends and well-wishers.
Just a few of our good friends who merit particular mention for their assistance in 2013 are: Friends of Edna’s Maternity Hospital; The Fistula Foundation; Direct Relief; UNFPA; Humanity Direct; Australian Doctors for Africa; Gradian Health Systems; Embrace; ConnectHer, National Nurses Association (USA) and Combe Incorporated.
Once again, we thank Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn for their continued support; their Half the Sky documentary has opened the eyes of many to the plight of women in the developing world.
The Hospital community lost a dear friend when Robert T. (Bob) Gilhuly passed away on August 26 following a long illness. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Anne (dear friend and former Treasurer of the Friends of Edna’s Maternity Hospital) and to the rest of the Gilhuly family.
Plans for 2014
It will be hard to top the year we just had, but we’re ready to try. Construction on our new imaging center is complete and we will be open for business in 2014. We have a new x-ray machine and hope to add mammography in the near future. The University plans to add a three-year program in dental hygiene and technology. A new charitable organization, The Edna Hospital Foundation, has been established in the US and expects strong growth in the coming year.
We also plan to launch training for female secondary school teachers in 2014. We see too many schoolgirls whose foundational skills are deficient, an unfortunate result of Somaliland’s education system collapsing during the civil war, and we’d like to do something about it. In our first year, we hope to train 50 female secondary school teachers from all over the country.
The course will run for two years and will focus not only on fundamental subjects such as mathematics, English and science, but also such topics as first aid, personal hygiene and deportment to empower women.
We wish all of our friends and supporters a joyous holiday season and many blessings in the coming year because we would never have achieved what we have without your support.
Edna Adan Ismail
Hargeisa, Somaliland, East Africa
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