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Somalia, February 2015: A new maternity ward in Borama, Somaliland to help save the lives of mothers and their newborns

© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Sarman
UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier addresses the opening ceremony of the maternity wing of the Borama Regional Hospital which can admit 130 mothers a month.

By Jamal Abdi Sarman

February 2015, BORAMA, Somaliland – A new maternity wing at a hospital in Somaliland will mean that 130 mothers a month will be able to give birth more safely aided by health care professionals.

The UNICEF-supported maternity wing was inaugurated at Borama Regional Hospital in a ceremony attended by Somaliland’s Minister of Health Saleeban Isse Ahmed and UNICEF Somalia Representative, Steven Lauwerier.

The new facility, partly funded by the European Union, includes 25 beds in the pre natal room and 6 in the labour room. Borama Regional Hospital, which is also a teaching hospital, is the largest in Awdal region currently catering for more than 385,000 people with in and out-patient health services.

Speaking at the inauguration of the maternity wing, UNICEF Somalia Country Representative Steven Lauwerier said the new facility will increase the Regional Hospital’s capacity to handle deliveries and enable mothers to have access to quality, professional care.

“I am glad to learn that the first mother will be able to use this new facility today,” said Mr Lauwerier. “Here there are medical personnel that include doctors, midwives and health workers who are going to help mothers deliver children safely.”

The UNICEF Representative reiterated the importance of everyone, including NGOs, civil society and the community, sensitizing the community on the benefits of using the new maternity wing.

The Minister said the new maternity ward was of key importance to the local people.

“It has modern equipment and the capacity to attend to the needs of communities living in this region,” he said. “The Ministry of Health’s main priority includes the reduction of maternal and child mortality and this facility will indeed support it in achieving this crucial goal.”

Having a baby still poses one of the greatest risks to the lives of women in Somalia – with a Somali woman losing her life every two hours due to pregnancy complications. In Somaliland only a third of women give birth in a health facility and in rural areas the vast majority give birth at home with only one in five being assisted by any skilled personnel during delivery. The rate of newborn death is also very high.

Mr Lauwerier also visited a recently opened maternity facility at Dilla Maternal and Child Health Centre, 50km outside Borama.

Dilla Health Centre, which is supported by UNICEF, provides comprehensive safe motherhood, child health and outpatient services to 12,000 people. The Centre’s Coordinator, Kaltun Hussein, said the facility has reduced the number of mothers giving birth without professional help.

“The services we provided here includes delivery and infant care using trained midwives and health care workers. We also quickly refer complicated cases to Borama because it is just 30 minutes by car. We have seen a reduction in home delivery which in turn reduced the complications and deaths that are associated with delivery at home without qualified midwives,” she said.



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