As Hamdi Husean Shikh, age 20, from Mogadishu, recovered from her Cesarean Section in the Maternity Ward of the Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, her three-day-old son, Khalid, slept beside her.
Since the beginning of her pregnancy, Hamdi had known that her only option for safe childbirth was by Cesarean Section. Seven years earlier, she had been hit by a stray bullet, which pierced her spine and left her paralyzed from the waist down. When she became pregnant, she knew what had to be done. “My decision was clear,” she said, “I knew that with my condition that I could only give birth in the hospital by C-Section.” If it were not for the Maternity Ward at the Banadir Hospital, Hamdi says, “I would have been in danger, I do not know what I would have done. It was a very good procedure,” she added, stroking Khalid’s arm.
As soon as she went into labour, Hamdi, accompanied by her husband, went directly to the 24 hour hospital for her delivery. While her husband was very supportive, Hamdi’s family members were fearful. “Some of my relatives told me that if I had a C-Section I would die, me and my baby would die,” she said. “Now that worry is gone,” she added, “me and my baby are here.” Hamdi was excited to return to her family to prove to them that the rumors about the quality of emergency obstetric care provided at the Banadir Hospital were false, as neither she nor baby Khalid had been harmed by the procedure.
Hamdi was satisfied with her experience at the hospital so much so that she says she would like to have more children in the future. “Yes, of course, I would like to have more children like Khalid,” she said. “I hope that Khalid will be a doctor, so that he can save other babies just like he was saved,” she added, smiling.
The lifesaving 24 hour Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEmONC) facilities at the Banadir Hospital are made possible by the Somali Joint Health and Nutrition Programme (JHNP).