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Birth In A Nation: African Hospital Founder Describes Conditions

Issue 327
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Food Crisis Worsened By Government’s Decision To Raise Fuel Prices By 43% And Port Service Charges By 25%

Somaliland: New Report Shows Successes & Trials

Draft UN Resolution Calls For UN Political Office In Somalia, Planning For Peacekeeping Force

Somalia/Ethiopia: Deliberate killing of civilians is a war crime

Coleman Tells Somali President Reconciliation Is Key

'They Risk Everything To Escape'

Declining Dollar Hurts Remittance Recipients Abroad

Let Somaliland Be An Independent Country, Int'l Think Tanks Say

France, US Working On UN Draft To Combat Piracy In Somalia

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia Denies Amnesty Mosque Killings Accusation

Somalian Government To Meet Opposition In Djibouti On May 10

No Talk Of Money Yet With Somali Pirates, Spain Says - Summary

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Bush Presses Congress on Economy

Pope appeals for peace in Somalia, Darfur, Burundi

Famed 'Black Hawk Down' pilot works to help others

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Birth In A Nation: African Hospital Founder Describes Conditions

Bin Laden Tycoon Aims To Build Arab-Africa Sea Bridge

Somaliland's 'Path To Recognition'

Boy Or Girl? The Answer May Depend On Mom’s Eating Habits

Separatist Movements - Should Nations Have A Right To Self-Determination?

Regions and territories: Somaliland

Looking At US from "Out There"

Food for thought

Opinions

Luga Yare Del Somal

All Current Somaliland Ills Squarely Rest On The Shoulders Of Its Inept MPs

Where Ali Delivered Others Failed

Wearisome Time For The Emerging Nation Of Somaliland

Hargeisa Airport! The gate to contemptuous corrupted entity

Qassim Sh. Yussuf Ibrahim, Somaliland Minister of Water and Mineral met Somaliland community in Dallas

 

By MATT GALLAGHER   

Edna Adan Ismail of Somaliland describes for O’Bleness Memorial Hospital staff members the hospital she operates in her homeland. Looking on is Dr. Jane Broecker.

Athens, Apr 20, 2008 – Moving her hand in front of an automatic faucet at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, Edna Adan Ismail remarked about her own hospital in Somaliland. "Sometimes we have no water. Adequate water would mean digging a well, which would cost $60,000, so we make due. Water is our heaviest cross to bear because it is so basic."

A former midwife for the World Health Organization and UNICEF, Ismail was also the wife of the president of Somaliland in eastern Africa. Following her husband's death, Ismail took her retirement savings and invested it into a dream she has had since the age of 11. Seeing the devastation in her country following a bloody civil war in late 1980s and 1990s, Ismail used her retirement to fund the building of the Edna Adam Maternity Hospital six years ago. The area's former hospital was destroyed during the war.

Ismail was in Athens this week for the African Health Summit at Ohio University, of which she was the keynote speaker. Ismail toured O'Bleness Memorial Hospital on Thursday, getting a detailed view of the maternity ward, meeting with doctors and nurses and discussing the world of medicine.

"This is a seven-star hotel," Ismail told the hospital personnel. "You have been very blessed. I want your hospital to fit in my suitcase so I can take it home.

"We all have a river to cross," Ismail continued. "With this hospital, you have a yacht. We have a rowboat. But there are some people who have no boat at all."

While opening her own hospital has been a lifelong dream, there are times it gets to be a nightmare. In Somaliland, one out of eight babies dies before the age of 12 months. Every year, more than 4,000 women die in childbirth. One of five children dies before the age of 5. The average life expectancy in Somaliland is only 48 years.

"It has been difficult, but I wouldn't have it any other way," Ismail said. "For all the joy I get, there's no bank big enough in the world to house it. I've been blessed. We all have a responsibility to each other. Those who have more, who have been blessed, have a responsibility to share it, even if all there is to share is a little encouragement."

But her country is full of tragedy. The civil war which demolished the country's infrastructure of hospitals also left behind mass graves, many with the bones of small children. Ismail carries pictures of unearthed mass graves in her purse to show others the horror that has taken place through the war.

"If there are human beings who can put children in mass graves, there must also be people who can build hospitals," Ismail said. "Ask yourself, what kind of world do you want to live in?"

Her hospital needs better x-rays, better laboratories and a well for water. The hospital particularly needs a mammogram machine, as there is not a single one in the entire country.

"If I could wave a magic wand, these are the things I would ask for," Ismail said.

There was magic in the air Thursday. Dr. Michael Clark informed her that a mammogram machine could be arranged at no cost to her hospital, as well as x-ray machines, ultrasound machines and other equipment. Clark explained that he has contacts through General Electric, which donates used hospital equipment to write-off as a tax credit.

"I'd expect to get it for nothing," Clark told Ismail. "You could have an ultrasound machine right now. We'll just have to figure out how to ship it to you."

It's equipment she can definitely use. Her hospital's birthing room contains three beds, each separated by a curtain. The hospital assists in the births of more than 100 babies a month, usually involving pregnancies that have shown complications. That amounts to about 1,200 babies a year. O'Bleness, by comparison, handles an average of 600 births a year. Since her hospital opened six years ago, it has assisted in the births of 7,500 babies.

"It's got to be done," Ismail said. "Any woman who dies during childbirth is a woman who should never have died."

Source The Athens Messenger.

 

 


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