Can women save the world? Looking at the life of former First Lady Edna Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister of Somaliland, the answer will sound “yes”. Edna, who she named “Mother Teresa of the Islam,” took in everything she learned through these prominent positions, and she gave countless lives to women and children. I have saved.
As current director and founder Edna Adan Maternity Hospital of HargeisaHer mission is to improve the health of the local population and, more urgently, help reduce the extreme levels of maternal and child mortality in Somaliland, the highest in the world. Built from scratch by Edna, this non-profit charitable and midwifery teaching hospital also trains student nurses and other medical professionals. “I’m just doing what I need to do,” says Edna. She looks back on her decision in 1998 that she sold her home and car and donated a UN pension to fund the hospital.
It officially opened on March 9, 2002. Edna Adan Maternity Hospital Formerly used as a garbage dump, it was built on land donated to her by the local government. There was a shortage of trained midwives / nurses in the area to staff hospitals.– Most have fled the country Somali Civil War, Destroyed the entire health infrastructure of Somaliland. Edna recruited more than 30 candidates and began training them while the hospital was still under construction. Currently completed is a university specializing in training for two operating rooms, a laboratory, a library, a computer center, nurses and midwives, and other medical professionals. As of 2018, the university hospital has grown to 200 staff and 1500 students. “Thanks to our training, our country currently has the highest number of midwives per capita and has been able to significantly reduce infant mortality,” Edna proudly says. The hospital’s past survival rate is 75% higher than the national average.
The facility is also the address that Edna calls home when she moved to the only room that had doors and showers / toilets during construction. “I was born into this,” she says, and when she was a kid, she recalls, “The problems of the world came to my father’s door.” Edna witnessed her prominent doctor, her father, showing compassion, generosity, and dedication to her patients from an early age. “His patient came before his own needs,” she recalls. “I brought this level of dedication to her diplomatic career and now to this hospital.”
Edna, the first Minister of Women’s Social Affairs (August 2002-June 2003), later became Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be able to more strongly present lawsuits to support Somaliland not only as a diplomat but also as a woman. I noticed. “Because I am a woman, I am allowed to be powerfully angry and show sadness to people. I am allowed to express pain, sadness and anger. I can be motherly and tenacious. You can. You can also shed tears, “Edna adds. She “can also share the feelings I feel by witnessing the pain and injustice my country is suffering.” In addition, as Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Edna deliberately delegates at the hospital. I am accepting. “This is to prove to everyone that this site is good enough for my patients, good enough for me to live in, and good enough for anyone who wants to get along with me.” As the only woman on the delegation, she also had to remind other officials that she was the head of the delegation. “If I hit the table or shed tears, don’t try to appease me, I tell them. When I express my anger, don’t tell me to cool down. “She continues. “Don’t try to impose emotions that are different from what I’m expressing at the moment. I know when I want to cool down and I’ll tell you what I need. If I want to show my emotions, That’s because I chose to do so. “
But one of the most memorable stories she tells is about the experiences that occur over and over again, and often just before a woman dies. “Women in our society do not have the authority to sign their surgery when they need a Caesarean section, so we need to ask a man (father, husband, brother, or son) to do the surgery. Sometimes when we tell our husband that we have to agree immediately (due to a time-sensitive emergency), or when his wife dies, he wants to refuse or wait for a decision. But I can’t afford to wait. So I summon a policeman and write on the back of the form I wrote, “I want my wife to die” when she is in danger of dying without the necessary surgical intervention. rice field. Then I ask him if he wants to sign it instead. Her husband approves Caesarean section surgery every time. Otherwise I would have taken the risk and signed it myself. If his wife did not survive the surgery, I could go to jail. Fortunately, no one has called my bluff. “
But that’s not all. “The fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) was the biggest fight in my life,” says Edna. She was a victim of FGM herself and she was the first woman to oppose FGM. “These young girls have survived measles, whooping cough, chronic diarrhea and other life-threatening illnesses, are 7-8 years old, and are learning to jump, learn and speak … they are subject to FGM. “It’s not just cutting. It’s a complete cutting!” She adds. Edna works on publishing an animated book on FGM because she believes her father also needs to be educated about the dangers of FGM and is not available to many in her country. I’m out.
Based on Edna’s many achievements, she wouldn’t think there was anything she could fail. But there is. “I want my country to be recognized internationally. It’s my unfinished book,” she says. “The world has lost the existence of a democracy in Somaliland. We have succeeded in demobilizing militias with our resources. We have a functioning democratically elected government. We have and we generate all taxes from our country. The international community is spending billions of dollars to bring peace to Somaliland, but they are the peace we have already achieved in Somaliland. We get from peace and stability, “she adds. “They get from lawlessness.”
About the author: Lori Sokol, PhD is Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of Women’s News. Her book, #SheIsMe: How Women Save the WorldWill be published in the spring of 2020.