Saving Somaliland

Saving Somaliland
by Stijn Jaspers
Once in a while, but definitely not too often, you meet a person that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Edna Adan Ismail, the founder of the Edna Hospital of Somaliland, is one of those people. Her achievements are quite remarkable considering the difficult circumstances she has been working in for the past few years.
Despite the grave problems that the whole region is facing, such as piracy, terrorist violence and drought, Edna Adan has been able to build a private hospital that focuses on mother and child care in the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland.
Since the hospital has been operating it has helped thousands of mothers and children and improved their health significantly. The figures show that the maternal and child mortality rate has dropped dramatically in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, due to the work of the Edna Hospital.
Heart, soul and mindEdna Adan is seventy-two-years-old but still full of energy and not willing to give up on the people of Somaliland. Despite her age she still runs the hospital on a day-to-day basis and is in control of the whole venture. She actually is the heart, soul and mind of the hospital. This also poses a threat to the sustainability of the organization because it relies on her way too much.
To see Edna Adan at work in the hospital is quite enjoyable. Her energy and good spirits are a joy for everybody. She walks through the corridors of the hospital full of energy and has time for a casual, or business, talk with everybody she meets. It so clear that this woman has a vision and a mission that she will pursue.
Sense of hopeAs a former Secretary of State of Somaliland and an employee of the World Health Organization. Edna Adan knows politics, finance and networking. She has used these assets very well to realize her dream to build a hospital (pictured left) which is now considered as one of the best in town. Her experience as a politician also makes it easy to attract foreign donors and expertise such as internships and scientific surveys conducted by students and universities from Europe and the US.
Walking through this hospital gives the visitor, and especially the patients of course, a sense of hope and optimism that things can be achieved in this region that has been almost forgotten by the international community. Edna Adan does not only provide medical assistance via her work and staff, but she spreads hope to a community that has to fight for survival every single day.
Tags: Edna Adan Ismail, Edna Hospital, Hargeisa