somali women in healthcare

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Maryan Qasim is a humanitarian, an obstetrician and gynaecologist who has worked  as University lecturer, scientist and school teacher for over 15 years. She has lived and worked in Somalia, Yemen, the Netherlands  and Britain. She is the former minister for women’s development and family affairs, and is an adviser in the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

She now serves as the Minister for Human Development and Public Services in Somalia.

Dr Asha Omar, a veteran Somali gynecologist visited Baidoa’s AMISOM hospital to offer her medical expertise in reproductive health. Dr Asha provided antenatal care including hi-tech CT scan services for expectant mothers as well as offered free gynecological consultation, treatment and checkups. Women in Baidoa often have to travel as far as Galkayo or Mogadishu to receive treatment in this feild

25 newly trained midwives from five regions in South and Central Somalia graduating from the new Mogadishu Midwifery School in Xamar Jajab District of Mogadishu. The graduation ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Religious Affairs Hon. Ridwan Hirsi Mohamed and several ministers, MPs and senior government officials as well as UN Population Fund for Somalia country representative, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse and his World Health Organization counterpart Dr. Ghulam Popal.

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Dr. Fahima Osman, Surgeon

She was the first Canadian-trained doctor in Toronto’s Somali community, Dr. Osman was a remarkable example of an immigrant success story. A refugee to Canada at the age of 11, she had been raised by loving parents with no formal schooling in a large family where money was always tight.

In 2003, she was 25, a year away from graduating and planning to become a surgeon in Canada. But she also dreamed of volunteering back in Somaliland, the former British protectorate that had become part of Somalia only to break away after her parents had left.

Still thinking of Somaliland, she started work on a master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to learn more about developing the health care system in low-income countries. “I need to help myself before I help anyone else,” she says.

Dr. Osman realized that what Somaliland needs aren’t more Canadian-trained doctors doing their best to patch holes, but locally trained surgeons and specialists to build a better system, one that truly understands the country’s culture and circumstances. So she now plans to create a foundation to work toward that goal by providing money and mentors. She has already begun to build links with more advanced medical schools in neighbouring Ethiopia, since there are no surgical-residency programs in Somaliland.

After all, Dr. Osman understands better than most the value of mentors and support networks, particularly when you are a trailblazer in your community.