Year End Newsletter 2012

Year End Newsletter 2012

2012 has been another busy year which also saw the graduation of our first 21 midwives who obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Midwifery.

As always, training of health workers remains our priority because without competent health workers, patients cannot be looked after as they should.

For this reason, we have launched the Edna Adan University where 200 students have registered with us to study Public Health, Nursing, Midwifery, and Laboratory Technology. This has been made possible with the donations you have made to us through the Friends of the Edna Adan Hospital USA so that we may cover part of the costs of the teachers and related needs.

I am proud to say that the Edna Adan University is the first and only University in Somaliland to be headed by a woman, Prof. Roda Ali Ahmed.

With support from the Fistula Hospital, and in partnership with the Norwegian Organization NNM, with support of Anesthesia Experts from Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, and in collaboration with Amoud University, we are also starting next month the first training for Anesthesia Technicians in Hargeisa as our country is in great need of anesthetists who are well trained and who can administer anesthesia safely.

With our own doctors and with support from visiting surgeons from the USA, Australia and UK, we have delivered 1057 babies this year, up to the end of October, including 166 C.sections; and over 700 major and minor operations.

We have continued to be the major referral hospital for obstetrical problems and our very own two women doctors are among the surgeons who safely perform C. Sections at our hospital. My greatest wish is to find the resources and a placement for our two female doctors to get their specialisation training, one in general surgery and the other in obstetrics.

Our needs have grown as the cost of living has worsened. Food and other running cost have grown and so have the cost of medicines and medical equipment. For this reason, the shortfalls of the hospital have grown to a level that we had never seen before as we continue to attract the poorest members of our community.

I think the face of little Asma before and after her operations tells a better story than I could in a thousand years.

Most pressing is our need for professionals to help support our new and young University in the areas of Public Health, Nursing/Midwifery and English as a foreign language.

During 2012, I was greatly Honored and humbled to have been awarded the Global Citizen Award in Central Park, New York in September, and to have been added to the Hall of Fame of Women in Emergencies in Orlando, Florida in October.

Our hospital received a lot of attention this year with the premier of the documentary, Half the Sky, on PBS television. We were featured at the top of Part II in a segment with Nicolas Kristof and film star Diane Lane which focused on our efforts opposing the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The entire program is available to Netflix subscribers in the USA and Canada. The DVD can be purchased at It will be shown in countries around the world in 2013.

Finally, I am looking forward to welcoming to the hospital Christopher Stanfield who is currently engaged in a heroic feat to try and raise funds for our hospital. Christopher is walking to the hospital all the way from Cairo, Egypt! He had to give up his American traveling companion and his camel upon entering Sudan and is currently walking through Ethiopia. Follow progress of his adventure on Facebook and on his Travel Blog. I plan to walk with him the final kilometre.

Half the Sky on PBS

Half the Sky on PBS

We are so looking forward to watching Half the Sky on American television Oct. 1 and Oct 2. For those of you without access to PBS, you can pre-order the DVD from

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a movement to confront the greatest moral challenge of our time: the oppression of women and girls across the world. Inspired by the groundbreaking book of the same name, the Half the Sky Movement is a call to action driven by growing awareness that empowering women is the greatest opportunity to increase prosperity and stability around the globe. Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have lent their voices to women and girls silenced across the world, as well as the unsung heroes working day in and day out to secure their rights and open up opportunities for them to flourish. Join them in this movement!

We are galvanizing action using social media, mobile games, celebrity advocates and a Facebook game. At the core of the Half the Sky Movement is a two-night PBS special airing on October 1st and 2nd, which chronicles the stories of women and girls confronting extreme gender inequality around the world and celebrates the remarkable individuals fighting to bring about change. Between now and October, learn more about the challenges women and girls face, the organizations working to address those challenges, and how you can help.

Visit Half the Sky Movement home page



Half the Sky Website Launches

The Half the Sky website is now live at!

Half the Sky’s Facebook page is at

As you may know, we are involved in a project called Half the Sky based on the book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Today the book becomes a movement as Half the Sky launches a new website to share stories of women and girls overcoming unimaginable challenges. Together we can shed light on the greatest moral challenge of our time – the oppression of women and girls worldwide. Learn more about how you can join the movement:


Mothers Day 2012 Newsletter

Mothers Day 2012 Newsletter

Edna Adan Hospital was 10 years old on the 9th of March, 2012. During the past 10 years we delivered over 12,000 babies and treated over 14,000 patients.

The achievement that we are most proud of is we have trained over 700 students, many of them in nursing and midwifery but also belonging to other disciplines such as laboratory technology and pharmacy technicians.

To me, this is the biggest gift that I can give to my people. Knowledge. Whatever progress I wish for my people, cannot be achieved unless we have the trained manpower.

The hospital is much bigger today than it was ten years ago.

The original buildings of March 2002 now have extensions that include the laboratory; the outpatient facilities; and the two new operating theaters. Staff accommodation have been extended and new toilets have been built for patients.

Most of all, we are proud and grateful that the hospital now has its own water well – thanks to France!

We have grown from being a Maternity Hospital into a referral hospital for every kind of medical problem.

First Baby born at Hospital

First Baby born at Hospital

Our sincere appreciation is expressed for all the support that we have received to this date and we hope that the confidence that you have shown in us and the generosity that you have extended to us will continue in the years to come.

Special Thanks

These extensions and whatever progress we have made could never have been achieved without the support that we receive from so many directions.

1) Support from the government and the institutions of Somaliland who facilitate the operation of the hospital.

2) Business people of Somaliland, among whom I must thank the generous anonymous benefactor who donated our water tanker.

3) OGF group and the new Somaliland Coca Cola factory who gave us all the water free of charge when we were doing the bore hole for the well.

4) Supporter from abroad.

Friends of Edna Hospital

The Friends of Edna Hospital board tops our list of foreign supporters. They have been the lifeline of the hospital since the time of its construction to the present. FOEH board members have given us generous donations and mobilized themselves to raise funds for the hospital. They have given us the benefit of their legal background to ensure that the hospital’s tax free status is scrupulously maintained.

Nicolas Kristof

Edna Adan & Nicholas Kristof at Hospital

Nicholas Kristof at Hospital

At this point, I must thank Nicolas Kristof of the NY Times who has been our strongest champion, who comes and spends precious time with us and writes about what he sees, mobilizing his vast readership.

An example was the generous support the hospital received a year ago on Mother’s Day, 2011 when Nick urged that, in place of flowers and candy, his readers honor their mothers with a gift in support of maternal and infant care. That response is now helping us to cover the costs associated with the 45 midwives who are in training right now.


This year, our wish list is headed by the solar and wind energy to generate electricity for the hospital which would reduce the extremely high electricity bills of the hospital. We pay for electricity from a private electric company, but that is unreliable so we have backup from the government’s electricity provider. That one, too, is unreliable and, because we cannot allow for a power outage – such as during a surgical operation – we have a standby generator. Somaliland has a lot of sunshine, if only we could make use of it.

Doctors Needed

In 10 years, 117 volunteers have come to us from these countries:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Latvia
  • Kuwait
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Somaliland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Also high on our list is to find the means to recruit more health professionals that the hospital needs to teach our students and to treat our patients. Our medical schools are young and the graduates from these institutions have a long time to go before they will gain the experience and the qualifications that are necessary to run a safe and efficient hospital that sets standards for Somaliland.

God Bless You,
Edna Adan Ismail

I cannot end my message without thanking and mentioning the volunteers who have come here during these ten years. I still recall frantic phone calls from worried parents inquiring about their children when sometimes a volunteer forgets to write home. In spite of the bad reputation of Somalia, which is unfairly attached to that of Somaliland, 117 volunteers have come here to support us during these ten years.

Skirball Center Interview

The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles has published an account of Edna’s visit there in late November, including an interview. Edna discusses the challenges she faced in building the hospital and talks about her work now.

“I try to give women in my community an opportunity. They are my army, my soldiers.”

The Skirball is host to an exhibit Women Hold Up Half the Sky based on the book, Half the Sky, now extended through May 20, 2012.

A portion of the article appears below. Please click through to the complete article.

When Edna Adan Ismail, founder of the pioneering Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland, walked into Women Hold Up Half the Sky a few weeks ago, she exclaimed to the crowd of visitors who had gathered to see her, “I am very emotional by the way, so if I get emotional, bear with me.” She walked through the gallery, half a world away from her home in Hargeisa, and took in the stories and images of her life on display. Edna did get emotional. And impassioned. And I did, too.

As I learned in chapter seven of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, one woman dies from childbirth every minute somewhere in the world. The personal narratives they share in the book put a face to that statistic, making every heartbreaking word worth the read.

In a country like Somaliland, Kristof and WuDunn write that there are four main factors that account for such grim maternal mortality: biology, lack of schooling, lack of rural health systems, and disregard for women. This only makes it that much more impressive that against all odds Edna learned to read and write even when there were no schools for girls; was the first Somali girl to earn a scholarship to study abroad in Britain; trained to become the first qualified nurse-midwife; served as First Lady of Somalia while her husband served as Prime Minister; had a career at the World Health Organization; held the position of Foreign Minister of Somaliland; and finally reached her lifelong goal of founding and administering a hospital. Being in her presence is inspiring, and I feel proud to know that she is out there fighting for every woman’s right to good health care and education.


An Afternoon with Edna Adan

Skirball Center

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