(ERGO) – Pregnant women from remote areas are able to deliver their babies safely these days at a community-run health centre in the small town of Adale, in southern Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region.
Dr Yasin Mohamed Hasan leads the team of volunteer health workers running the Raasi centre that opened last year. He is also head of surgery.
“Expectant mothers previously depended on traditional midwives and small clinics with personnel who lacked the capacity to handle pregnancy complications,” Dr Yasin said.
“The traditional midwives and the small MCHs (clinics) are not able to handle complications such as obstructed labour, or eclampsia, or if the baby is in breech position, and these are the needs that led us to open a health centre here to handle such issues.”
The women attending Raasi centre come from rural areas and villages up to 50 km from Adale town, which include Eel-muluq, Adow-ul, Masajid-Ali-gadud, Bursho-sheikh, Gullane and Faqayale.
A year after it opened in June 2019, women using the centre say it has provided them with good maternity services at a fraction of the cost of travelling in an emergency to Mogadishu.
Hawa Ali, 33, a mother of four, told Radio Ergo that on her third delivery her family had to spend more than $1,200 travelling to a hospital in Mogadishu. This time, she came to Raasi centre from her home in El-muluq, 40 km north of Adale, to deliver. The costs they incurred the previous time nearly ruined them.
“I had diabetes, my blood sugar levels dropped, and the baby had to be kept in an incubator for four nights. We had to pay $75 per night exclusive of the cost of medicine, despite being in a period of drought and the domestic animals were not fetching any price,” Hawo told Radio Ergo.
Last month, Halima Mohamed Hassan, 38, from Adow-ul village, 23 km from Adale, gave birth to her sixth baby at Raasi centre, after 48 hours in labour.
“My mum was my traditional midwife and whenever I was in labour, she would help me to deliver. But I always faced numerous challenges and this time I knew I would not deliver smoothly without complications,” she said, explaining her decision to come to the Raasi centre.
“I panicked when I was laid on the maternity bed, I thought I had been operated on but thank God I delivered the child safely,” said Halima, pleased with the overall experience.
Raasi operates from a seven-room house rented at a monthly cost of $100. Patients have to pay a standard user fee of $15 to access maternity, surgery, laboratory, consultation, and other services. The fees received are used to support the centre’s running costs.
Raasi midwife, Iqra Ahmed Ali, said local women do not understand the process of ante-natal check-ups and care, and this often leads to complications. She described many cases of women coming to the doctor at the last minute in serious difficulties