International Day of the Midwife: Edna Adan

The Fistula Foundation features a video of an Interview with Edna, to commemorate the International Day of the Midwife.

Inspiring story, check it out here

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day I have many reasons to be thankful.  The Edna Adan University Hospital (EAUH) in Somaliland just celebrated its 15th anniversary.  Since its opening in 2002, more than 20,000 babies have been delivered and over 1,000 midwives, nurses, and other health workers have been trained. The hospital remains committed to providing first-rate health care to the community and to battling female genital mutilation.

But these are very challenging times.  We are facing the worst drought in the last 60 years. Because of the drought, maternal morbidity and mortality – which were very high anyway – have risen due to severe malnutrition in women causing them to either miscarry or go into premature labor several weeks ahead of their due dates. Our maternity ward and NICU are always full.

Yet this has also been a time when our nursing students have risen to the challenge.  Fatouma and baby Mohamed came from rural Somaliland to EAUH for Mohamed to have hydrocephalus surgery.  Deficiencies in maternal nutrition have been postulated as an indirect underlying cause of hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain.  After surgery, a blood transfusion, and treatment of an infection, our surgeon teased Fatouma about giving a camel in exchange for saving Mohamed’s life.  Fatouma responded with a flood of tears crying out that all her family’s livestock had died in the drought.  Our students, moved with compassion, began collecting donations to help mothers like Fatouma.

We invite you to honor mothers by making a donation which will provide food, water, and medication for an increasing number during their hospital stays. 

Fatouma and Mohamed with students

To help the Edna Hospital and create a unique mother’s day gift, here are five simple steps to follow.

1- Go to
2- Select the “Donate” tab (or click below).
3- Make a donation in your mother’s name by selecting “in honor of…”
4- To type a dedication select “..send an acknowledgement” and then select “Donate Now”.
5- Know that you’ve given a long-lasting, meaningful gift that will help mothers and children across Somaliland!

Donate today and celebrate International Day of the Midwife as well.  This year’s theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!”

We couldn’t do this without you! Thank you so much for continuing to support the Edna Adan Hospital Foundation!

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Edna Adan Hospital Foundation (EAHF) is committed to funding and advocating for initiatives that improve the status of health care and quality of life for women and children in Somaliland and the surrounding regions.  Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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Edna Adan meets with the First Lady of Kenya

Edna Adan meets with the First Lady of Kenya

On March 21st, at the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) World Congress 2017 at Capetown, South Africa, Edna Adan meets with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta of Kenya


Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

For Immediate Release


Hargeisa, Somaliland – The Republic of Somaliland today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to request an exemption for Somaliland residents from the January 27 U.S. Executive Order restricting entry into the United States by individuals from Somalia and six other nations.

In the letter, Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Dr. Sa´ad Ali Shire urged the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to take this action in light of the fact that Somaliland is an independent, democratic and stable nation that– unlike the nations affected by the Order – does not suffer from what the Order describes as “deteriorating conditions… [that] due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.”

The letter also explains as the collapse of Somalia’s governing institutions and civil society dominated global attention and vast resources from the United States and other nations, Somaliland focused on building strong state institutions, maintaining peace within its borders and creating a sustainable economy. Having met the requirements for sovereign recognition, Somaliland functions as an independent government and nation, as well as a model for others. Unlike the nations subject to the suspension imposed by the recent Executive Order, Somaliland has full control over its territory and has not experienced the emergence of terrorist organizations. In fact, no acts of terrorism have occurred in Somaliland since October 2008. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has collected data indicating that Somalia has endured no fewer than one hundred terrorist attacks each year over the same period, and a significant increase in these numbers in recent years.

The letter notes that despite Somaliland’s accomplishments, “As a result of the January 27 Executive Order, Somaliland residents may not travel to the United States to visit family, pursue educational advancement or strengthen commercial ties between our two nations.” The letter also states that, “The mutual benefits realized through these contacts are immeasurable, and contribute both to our nation’s continued vitality and its ability to serve as a reliable partner to the United States in a challenging region.”

The Foreign Minister’s letter appeals for the U.S. Government’s favorable consideration of this exemption, which would “not only relieve Somalilanders of the unintended and undue burdens caused by the Executive Order, but also acknowledge – for Somaliland and others in the region and the world – that strong and responsible governance provides a foundation upon which America’s partners can secure progress for their citizens and contribute to shared international objectives.”

The Republic of Somaliland is a sovereign state in the Horn of Africa sharing its borders with the Republic of Djibouti, Federal Republic of Ethiopia and Federal Republic of Somalia. The former British Somaliland Protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and subsequently united with Somalia, thereby creating the Somali Republic. The Republic of Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991.

All in a Day’s Work at Edna Adan University Hospital

All in a Day’s Work at Edna Adan University Hospital

HARGEISA, Somaliland – It was early in the day and Dr.Shukri Mohamed Dahir of the Edna Adan University Hospital (EAUH) had already successfully completed four hydrocephalus surgeries — shunt procedures – on infants, all under the age of 12 months.

Each shunt surgery took approximately an hour, and Dr.Dahir had purposefully planned all four to take place on the same day.

“I schedule the surgeries so that all infants and their mothers get post-op care in the same room, away from other hospital patients. This significantly reduces the risk of infection that is high among post-op hydrocephalus patients, “Dr.Dahir said.

Before seeking professional medical help, parents often pay traditional healers to burn the babies’ swollen heads with hot sticks in the belief that they will shrink to normal size. The procedure does not work, but because in a small percentage of infants hydrocephalus stops on its own (arrested hydrocephalus), families continue to seek out traditional healers in the belief that this will ‘cure’ their babies.

“Most untreated infants become mentally and physically impaired as the condition worsens, causing blindness, deafness full paralyses and premature deaths,” Dr.Dahir explained.

The tiny patients had to travel long distances to receive medical treatment; three came from neighboring Somalia, and one from a remote region of Somaliland.

For eleven months-old Cabas Dahir Xasan it took a grueling two days and nights by car, to get to the EAUH hospital from the town of Cadaado (Adado) in central Somalia.

Cabas’s family tried the traditional method first — scabs from the burns and healed fresh skin where the scabs had fallen off, still visible on his head.

“We tried four times with four different healers. It did not work. A doctor in Mogadishu recommended Edna’s hospital, so we came here,” Cabas’s mother, Fadumo Muxumed Cilmi, 25, said.

But most parents, as Dr.Dahir explained, find out about Edna’s hospital by word of mouth, like Layla Macalin Mohamed, 27, mother of seven months old Asma Abdilaahi Ali, who flew to Hargeisa from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

“I met a man at a bus stop who told me about Edna’s hospital when he saw my baby,” said Ms. Mohamed.

“In the last five years the number of parents seeking medical attention for this condition has increased from 125 to about 400 a year at our hospital because of our reputation and patients spreading the word,” Dr.Dahir confirmed.

In Mogadishu, if at all possible, the procedure costs some $2000 per patient, not including medications, post-op in-patient care and accommodation, while the same surgery can cost as much as $15,000 in places like India or Malaysia – not including travel expenses and only affordable for a tiny fraction of the region’s population.

In contrast, EAUH offers this surgery free of charge.

“Even if they wanted to pay, it would be maybe with a $20 bill. They could not afford more, so why kill a tree and make paper out of it,” said Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, founder and head of the EAUH.

Ms.Adan’s fingers fly over a calculator. “To give you an idea, the 400 surgeries done at EAUH for free would have cost an equivalent of $6 million abroad.”

In all four cases the families, too poor to afford the shunt surgery, raised fund to tralve to Hargaisa from family and friends.

Hydrocephalus is widespread in the region mostly due to infections in utero, or contracted during and post-delivery, as well as by poor to non-existent antenatal care and insufficient quantities of folic acid in the diet of the pregnant mother. Often, babies born with hydrocephalus also have spina bifida, a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings. In such a case, EAUH performs additional surgery to address it.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain, causing increased pressure inside the skull. It is typically treated by the surgical placement of a shunt system.

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