“When mothers are saved, babies are saved, when babies are saved, families are saved. It’s saving the pillar of their family, women.” Edna Adan Ismail
In honor of Women’s Health week, we want to acknowledge that our work is possible because of historic women’s health advocates who paved the way. Edna Adan Ismail, founder and director of Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa, Somalia, has been a great inspiration to our team. As an outspoken advocate for women’s health topics, her work offered a gateway for Community Health Workers (CHWs) to talk about nuances of women’s health that are often disregarded or considered taboo.
Edna’s journey as a women’s activist started at a young age when she decided to study nursing in the United Kingdom. From then on, she has been working tirelessly to fight against female genital cutting. She has held many prestigious standings in the World Health Organization (WHO) and Somalia. Nearly 25 years ago, she decided to step back from WHO and established her own hospital at the age of 65. Almost 20 years later, Edna Adan Maternity Hospital is a major success in Somaliland and continues to provide indispensable women’s health services and education.
Wellshare’s goals directly align with Edna Adan Ismail through our commitment to develop sustainable, community-based programs that advocate for women’s health access near and far. Our Family Home Visiting Program helps mothers to create healthy parent-child relationships and learn early childhood development practices. This program partnered with nearly 200 individuals to improve their early childhood knowledge in 2020. Our Child Spacing Program empowers women with family planning options and preventative health screenings through outreach, home visits, and care referrals. We have a library of postpartum resources translated in multiple languages to support women as they navigate the postpartum experience. In Tanzania, our CHWs work with women entrepreneurs to educate East Africans on COVID-19 prevention and recovery. “Edna’s contributions and continuous activism throughout Somalia and the diaspora make our work possible” shares Program Manager, Abdillahi Ganey.
By Sadia Ahmed