By: Edna Hospital
Somalilandsun – Everyone who’s familiar with Edna and her work knows about Edna’s dream of training 1,000 Community Midwives to be deployed throughout Somaliland. This past week, we took a big step toward making that dream a reality.
Community Midwives are healthcare workers who receive two years of training in basic midwifery and nursing skills. They are recruited from all over the country with the hope and expectation that they will return to their home region and serve that community after graduation. In Somaliland, where there is an acute shortage of doctors, and hospitals are few and far between, the Community Midwife is the only trained healthcare professional accessible to large segments of the population. She is able to provide prenatal care, assist with deliveries, immunize infants and children and dispense basic medicines.
The program has been embraced not only by the Somaliland Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, but also by the towns and villages where the Community Midwives serve after completion of their training. However, a limiting factor in the training has been that Edna Hospital is the only facility where Community Midwives have been tutored under Edna’s watchful eye. Since the Hospital can only accommodate one class of approximately 40 students at a time, young women cannot be trained fast enough to meet the increasing demand.
For some time, Edna has been looking to establish training centers in other areas. An opportunity presented itself recently as funding became available to begin classes in the towns of Berbera and Gabilay.
In order to maintain the high quality of the program, the first step was to identify lead tutors for each facility, and to give them a two-month “teacher training” course at Edna Hospital. Simultaneously, Edna was busy obtaining support from the Ministries of Health and Education, and then getting approval from the governors and mayors where the new courses would be held, as well as from Berbera Hospital and Gabilay Hospital. Fortunately, thanks to the program’s strong reputation, backing for the proposed expansion was unanimous.
Next, candidates were recruited in each town. Applications were open to women at least 18 years old who had completed secondary school; 53 young women in Berbera and 37 in Gabilay applied for 20 openings in each town. The prospective students gathered last week – April 15 in Berbera and April 17 in Gabilay – for the selection process which was overseen by Edna along with representatives of the Ministries of Health and Education and local officials. The ladies first underwent a face-to-face interview to assess their English language ability as well as general deportment. Those who passed the screening sat for a written examination that covered English, mathematics and science.
The 20 top performers at each location were invited to join the program, which begins immediately. Each student had to appear with a parent or guardian who cosigned a student contract that sets forth the high expectations for the young women who are privileged to take the first step on the path to becoming Community Midwives.
Congratulations to the ladies who were selected and to Edna for this remarkable achievement!
For more details visit http://www.ednahospital.org