For Immediate Release
REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND REQUESTS EXEMPTION FROM U.S. EXECUTIVE ORDER
INTENDED TO PREVENT THE ENTRY OF FOREIGN TERRORISTS
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.
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.
Edna Adan University is hosting a three-day Brain Awareness Advocacy Conference in collaboration with International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)
A healthy Brain for a healthy nation and its development in Somaliland
Abstracts will be selected by panel of experts.
Notification of selection status will be concluded by 1 January, 2017.
Title, author name(s), institution name(s), presenter name (if different), address of presenter, telephone number, email address, abstract contents, background, objective, method, result, conclusion, and recommendation. Maximum 500 words.
Brain injury & hypoxia
Substance abuse in Somaliland & beyond
Any mental disorders
Mental health services in Somaliland
We couldn’t be more proud of the 264 students who recently graduated from the Edna Adan University as fully fledged health professionals. Please join us in congratulating the 82 midwives, 48 nurses, 13 anaesthesiologists, 63 pharmacologists, 17 lab technicians, and 41 public health workers who are the future of healthcare in Somaliland. We salute you all!
Sincerest thanks and appreciation to Australian Doctors For Africa (ADFA), Rotary Club of Brisbane High-Rise, and the many friends in Australia who gave so generously to our hospital’s ambulance fund.
This new vehicle replaces the tired 15-year-old ambulance that has been in continuous use since the doors of our hospital first opened. The lifesaving value of this gift to those whom our hospital serves is truly immeasurable.
From the bottom of our hearts, and from all our staff, thank you so much.
We at Edna Hospital love Australia!
John was a friend of Somaliland and a friend of my late parents as well as my late first husband, President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. When the Edna Adan Hospital was opened in 2002, John was a member of the first Board of Trustees of my hospital. John had many books published about Somaliland and was among the few foreigners who spoke our Somali language fluently. He will be greatly missed. – Edna Adan Ismail
The Edna Adan Hospital Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) registered charity that supports the Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Executive Director, Sandeep Bathala, and welcomes her to help further the mission of the hospital and increase its impact on the health and welfare of women and children in Africa.
The Edna Adan University Hospital trains midwives and other medical professionals to improve maternity healthcare in Somaliland and has also pioneered the campaign against the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Africa.
Bathala will help the foundation reach new partners and supporters to advance the remarkable work that Edna Adan is doing in Africa and for which she has been recognized internationally through the following awards: Legion of Honor from France; Honorary Doctoral Degree from University of Pennsylvania and the same from Clark University as well as from Ahfad Women’s University in the Sudan; President’s Gold Medal from University of Pretoria, South Africa, for her work on Human Rights; Inaugural recipient of the Renfield Award for her work on Global Health, from the University of Pennsylvania; and her name has been added to the Medical Mission Hall of Fame, University of Toledo.
Bathala says, “I am delighted to join EAHF and am fully committed to supporting Edna’s work to ensure that women have access to quality health care provided by trained professionals and am happy to join the effort towards the eradication of genital cutting. I am confident that the hospital not only makes a difference in the lives of girls and women treated in real and meaningful ways, but empowers women in general and midwives and nurses in particular”
“The members of the Board of the EAHF are thrilled to have Sandeep join the team given her diverse professional background in the nonprofit sector,” said Rukia Dahir, the founder and chairperson of EAHF.
Prior to this new position, Bathala led the planning, development, and implementation of seminars, workshops, and conferences on maternal and reproductive health for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Inc. She also collaborated with the African Population and Health Research Center in Kenya; Oxfam India; Population Foundation of India; and Centre for Population and Reproductive Health in Nigeria.
Prior to joining the Wilson Center, Bathala served as Sierra Club’s Global Population Program Director, where she coordinated study tours to India and Ethiopia and outreach activities to build a base of support for integrated reproductive health programs. She spearheaded advocacy partnerships with family planning agencies in Albania and Mali at Planned Parenthood. She assisted Attie and Goldwater Productions with filming and producing documentaries on female genital cutting, family planning, and maternal health in Mali. Her experience has also been enhanced through work with several women’s organizations.
Bathala holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in social work, with an administration, planning, and policy focus – both from Rutgers University.
“Our work serves a community that has a dire need for basic health care. With Sandeep at the helm of the foundation, we will provide more women in Somaliland the opportunity to have a healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth, and in the elimination the practice of FGM,” said Edna Adan, founder of the Edna Adan University Hospital.
Somaliland and neighboring Somalia have been described as the worst places to be a mother. According to UNICEF, Somaliland has a Maternal Mortality Rate of between 1,000 and 1,400 deaths per 100,000 live births. Mothers who gave birth in Edna’s hospital during the past 14 years faired 75 percent better than the national average.
In addition to her hospital, Edna Adan is a former First Lady and a former Foreign Minister of Somaliland, a peaceful country with a population of 4 million people that is located in the Horn of Africa and borders Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.]]>
Thanks to your support together with partners like Fistula Foundation, Edna Hospital is working tirelessly to address these issues and bring about a fistula-free world for the women we serve in Somaliland and throughout the Horn of Africa. ]]>
Kate Grant of the Fistula Foundation writing in The Guardian
An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labour, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or faeces or both.
One of the toughest aspects of fistula is the stigma. The leaking of faeces and urine results in hygiene issues and a smell that are difficult to cope with. This condition used to be common in the west until the early part of the 20th century. In fact, a fistula hospital once stood on the site of today’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. But thanks to the widespread availability of emergency obstetric care and interventions such as C-sections, fistula is now rare in developed nations.
Why do a million women still suffer the treatable condition of fistula? (full article)
But there is still much to do. This ??MothersDay? will you help us train more Midwives? Please give the gift of safe motherhood today.
Nobody ever said it better than our dear friend Nicholas Kristof writing in the New York Times.
Beyond Flowers for Mom
In a few days Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day with roses, chocolates and fine dinners, inducing warm and fuzzy feelings all around. But, in addition, I’ll bet helping mothers less fortunate would also render any mom giddy.
That’s what some Americans have decided to do: commemorate motherhood by saving the lives of mothers halfway around the world — such as in this impoverished nook of Somaliland in the horn of Africa. Beyond celebrating moms with fleeting flowers, they are helping an extraordinary Somali woman, Edna Adan, run a maternity hospital here to make childbirth safer. ~ Full Article
That’s 37 torch bearers leading the charge for safe motherhood in Somaliland. Warm congratulations to you all.