Iisho Adeu Cabdulle, age 27, was at home with her six children in Murale, about 250km from Mogadishu, when her labour pains began. She expected to have a routine delivery at home in her rural village, but the process became everything but normal. She was in labour for another ten days. If she had not managed to make it to the emergency obstetric facilities at Banadir hospital, she would have lost her life.
When her labour began, traditional birth attendants could not reach Iisho because it was raining heavily. Rather than go to a health facility, she stayed at home for four days, and each day, the pain became more severe. She had begun to bleed heavily, the result of what the doctors later believed was the rupturing of Iisho’s uterus. “I couldn’t breathe and felt that something was not normal,” she said. “I couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore. I asked my family to let me go to the hospital ‘Do you want me to live or to die?’” Finally, they agreed to take her to a medical facility, but this was easier said than done.
Because there were no working cars in her village, her husband, aunt, and uncle placed Iisho on a cart that was dragged by a cow. It was a very painful journey. The road was rough, and every time the cart went over a bump, Iisho was in excruciating pain. “We passed two or three towns, but there were not any health facilities,” she explained. Even if there was a facility, it was abandoned due to issues of security. She pleaded with her family, “Please just take me to Mogadishu so I can have a hospital. No more stops. ”
Iisho finally reached the Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu. It had been ten days since her labour began. A nurse explained that she was in a horrific state; Iisho had been in and out of consciousness, was severely anemic, had a high fever and her uterus had been ruptured for several days. She received a blood transfusion and the uterus was in such poor condition that the surgeons were forced to perform a hysterectomy. Despite the trauma, Iisho was just thankful that she was still alive. “The night after the surgery was the first night that I slept after eleven days,” she said, shaking her head.
It had now been five days since her surgery, and, although she is still traumatized from her experience, Iisho remains strong. “I had the care I deserve, the treatment, cleanliness, everything I needed,” she said, confidently. Although she lost her child and will no longer be able to give birth, her main concern is that she is still able to continue on with her own life. “The doctors were like my brothers and sisters,” she said. “My father didn’t give birth to them, but they helped me like I was their sister.”
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).