By Sarah Winfield
Picture the scene: the stage is set with a mountain of bright orange boxes piled to the right, each bearing the words ‘Midwifery Kit’. In the centre stands a sign carved with ‘Hargeysa Cultural Center’, behind which hangs a poster proudly announcing the name ‘Edna Adan University’. A hush falls over the almost one hundred-strong audience, as members of staff, students, graduates and guests all wait expectantly for the event to begin.
This was the scene last week at the Hargeysa Cultural Center, where forty fully-fledged Community Midwives, the Edna Adan University Hospital’s third graduating class to date, were awarded midwifery kits courtesy of Direct Relief. This brings the total number of graduating Community Midwives trained through our hospital to 103 – a small army of women warriors who will help provide the knowledge, skills and health care so urgently needed in the far distant regions of Somaliland.
The ceremony was preceded by a presentation delivered by two exceptional students from the university’s Public Health department. The students reported findings from a survey concerning the socio-demographic characteristics, morbidity and vital statistics of the five major districts of Hargeisa. A thunderous round of applause completed the session, after which the ceremony for the distribution of medical equipment and supplies to our Community Midwives graduates took place. A delegation led by Dr Ali Sheikh, Director of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health, stood in line to award each midwife a much sought-after and complete midwifery kit. The contents of each box include delivery instruments, receivers, bowls, resuscitation equipment for mother and baby, catheters, sutures, scales, Sphygmomanometers, stethoscopes, headlights, etc.; in short, all the tools of the trade!
One-by-one, the university Chancellor, hospital founder, and much loved mother of health care, Dr Edna Adan Ismail, called out their names. And up bounded the midwives, each in turn, to collect their kits. On, and on, the audience cheered them, these women standard bearers who will carry forward the life-saving skills they have been taught to the far-flung corners of Somaliland.
A special thank you to Direct Relief for their longstanding support in equipping this next generation of midwives to carry out their work. Many congratulations and best wishes to the 2015 graduating class of Community Midwives, and good luck to the group of 80 currently in training. We are so proud of you all!