When Amino Abdi Mohamed gave birth to her first child 8 years ago, maternal health care services in JAMAME region which is 60km away from Kismayo were non-existent. She lost her first born baby girl because of lack of maternal health care since the nearest health care center was located in Kismayo.
Unfortunately, stories like this are all too common. Women in Somalia have a one in 22 lifetime risk of maternal death making the maternal mortality rates in Somalia amongst the highest in the world. It’s estimated that the maternal mortality ratio is 732 deaths per 100,000 live births. Much of the country has little or no access to medical services and in the most remote villages traditional birth attendants handle all deliveries. Conditions are often unsanitary and birth attendants don’t have the capacity to deal with complications that may arise. The issue is further exacerbated by poverty, instability and a lack of education.
Amino is now 29 years of age and has had three children over the years.She gave birth to her last born in December 2018 at the SAF-UK MCH in Kismayo and is among the 280 women in Kismayo who have benefited from delivery services by Skilled Birth Attendants at SAF-UK MCHN in 2018.
Amino had never heard about antenatal and postnatal care for mothers when she was expecting her first three children.
“When SAF-UK International started working in our community, I got to learn about the importance of maternal and child healthcare from their kind staff.
I think I could have saved my first child if I had the chance to learn about maternal and child healthcare earlier. Now, I always attend maternal, child health and nutrition awareness sessions. I have also received iron tablets during my pregnancy.”
During her her last pregnancy, she attended SAF-UK ANC sessions in Iskufilan village in Kismayo. She then realized that she was not eating properly while she was expecting her third child; she had to eat more nutritious foods and followed the appropriate IYCF practices. This enabled her to have an incident-free delivery. She then breastfed her daughter exclusively for six months as advised by SAF-UK staff.
SAF-UK International has been working in the health sector in Somalia since 2009, operating both fixed and mobile health facilities throughout the country. In particular, SAF-UK implements integrated health and nutrition projects to ensure that women are supported through their pregnancies, have safe deliveries and that their children have access to health services.