Eid is the holiday that marks the ends of Ramadan. In Somaliland, families celebrate Eid by giving small gifts to children, dressing in new clothes, and visiting friends and neighbors. In contrast to the long days of fasting during the month of Ramadan, Eid is a time of bright colors and brighter smiles as the streets fill with groups of people wishing each other Eid Mubarak, or Blessed Eid.
In Hargeisa, Eid is also a time when many hospitals close or reduce their services because doctors take time off. While we like holidays as much as anyone, Edna Adan Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means that we often get busy on holidays, and this year Eid was particularly hectic for our hardworking staff.
Dr. Shukri was on duty yesterday, assisted by a team of midwives and student nurses (including Mona, our visiting student midwife from Middlesex University, London). Dr. Shukri ended up doing five caesarian sections during her shift, two during the day and another three during the night. Each of the mothers presented with different issues: prolapsed cord; placenta previa; obstructed labor; previous c section scar; and eclampsia. Some of the support staff were relieved at the end of their shifts, but Dr. Shukri worked until the last mother was saved at 3:30 a.m. She then took time to check on her earlier patients and their babies before heading home for some well-deserved rest.
This morning, Dr. Naima took over and performed a sixth caesarian section. Dr. Naima’s patient was an unfortunate woman who had been held in another hospital for four days! The mother, who had previously delivered by c section, presented with obstructed labor. This poor woman never should have been allowed to go into labor at all, let alone for so long. She was exhausted and about to rupture when she was finally brought to us, and Dr. Naima had to perform emergency surgery. Fortunately, she and her baby are doing fine, and Dr. Naima is standing by for the next patient.
For those who are unaware, Dr. Shukri and Dr. Naima were among the first group of young nurses that Edna personally tutored when the hospital opened in 2002. They both continued on to do their midwifery training here, and were then sponsored by Friends of Edna’s Maternity Hospital to attend medical school at Amoud University in Boroma. They graduated together two years ago and are among the first female doctors trained in Somaliland. Dr. Shukri and Dr. Naima are among Edna’s proudest accomplishments; God bless everyone who has supported them on their journey.
Edna has just toured the wards, and reports that on top of all this, we have three premature babies receiving around-the-clock attention in our Neonatal ICU, and two more women in labor. She also learned that a fistula patient operated on by Dr. Andy Norman last month had her catheter removed today, and her surgery appears to have been a success! Our doors are open and our staff is ready for whatever comes next.
The expressions of relief and gratitude on the faces of the patients and their family members are the best Eid gift Edna could ask for!