Serving women and saving lives

Friday 8 March 2019

 Serving women and saving lives 

In this year’s International Women’s Day, we celebrate courageous women and men who have dedicated their lives saving others and creating a better world for women and girls in Somalia.

Since she was a little girl, Farhiya Ali wanted to be a nurse so that she could help others. Her dreams came through when she finally graduated from nursing school and joined Gardo Hospital in 2007—the largest referal hospital in Karkar region of Puntland in Somalia.  Today, the soft spoken Farhiya (40) is the head of nursing at the maternity department of the hospital.  

The department supports pregnant women by providing information, counselling and delivery services. Their aim is to ensure no woman dies while giving birth. “When women arrive at the hospital, we give them all the support they need to have a safe delivery. We check their health and that of their babies and provide them with the right service to ensure safe delivery,” she says. 

Many of the patients who are admitted at the maternity ward come from far away villages and districts in Karkar region. Women with pregnancy complications that cannot be handled by the village or district health workers are transferred to Gardo hospital where Farhiya and her team provide the necessary support.  “We have five districts in the region and each district has an ambulance service that helps transfer patients to health centres,” she add.

A few years ago, this was almost impossible.  According to a survey conducted by Save the Children in 2011, only 5% of women in the region gave birth at health facilities. Thanks to people like Farhiya and with the support of dedicated resources from UKAID, the rate has now gone up to 53%.

Farhiya and her unit is one of the hospitals supported by Save the Children’s Community Health and Nutrition Through local Governance and Empowerment (CHANGE) project, which is funded by UKAID.

 “On the International Women’s Day, I want to recognise all my female colleagues who work tirelessly  work to save the lives of  Somali women and children.”