Author Topic: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia  (Read 12409 times)

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Offline Admin

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In December 2008, 20 Somali students graduated from medical school in Mogadishu. They were the first students to do so in almost two decades.

Amongst them was 26 year old Dr. Hafsa Abdurrahman Mohamed. On completing her studies she decided to work for the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), using her skills to help provide free medical care in Somalia. Here she describes some of her experiences growing up in Mogadishu and working as a female surgeon in Somalia.  

"When I was very young there was peace in Somalia, but I don't remember it. Throughout my childhood, fighting, looting, destruction and killing were commonplace in Mogadishu. I was caught in crossfire many times when I was going to school. I saw people dying and others seriously wounded.

"University was especially challenging for me. I had the fear of death every morning and prayed to Allah every day that I would come home safely. As well as the fighting there were other problems, many parts of the city had no electricity so studying at night or doing practical training in hospitals was very difficult.

"Despite all the challenges, I realise that I am one of the lucky ones. My mother went to live in the UK before I started university and she paid for my education. Many others don't have that opportunity, there are so many very bright students in Somalia who don't get the chance to achieve their dreams. I hope this will change. Education does not have an age limit. As the English proverb says: 'You're never too old to learn'.

"I graduated at the end of last year. I chose to be surgeon because I wanted to help Somali women, particularly mothers who do not get good medical care especially when they have difficult births and need surgery. There is a huge need for female surgeons in Somalia as many Somali women don't want male surgeons doing their operations.

"After graduating I did six month's further training in Mogadishu and then I came to work in Marere at the beginning of August. There was no hospital in Marere until MSF started working here in 2003. There used to be an expatriate surgeon but, due to specific risks faced by international staff, MSF has been forced to run its programmes in Somalia without their input since early 2008. In Marere this meant they had to suspend surgical activities as they couldn't find a qualified Somali surgeon.

"Before I started working in Marere, MSF would refer women needing emergency obstetric surgery to Kismayo. The journey would take five hours in the dry season and MSF would cover the costs. Now that I'm here, we can do surgery again. On August 31, I performed my first caesarean section. I had done many caesarean sections as a student, but this was my first one as a practising surgeon.

"The girl that I operated on was only 18 years old. She's partially disabled in her right leg and lives with her parents in Jilib, a town about 18km north of Marere. Her husband is in Kenya now. As her pelvis is very narrow she was not able to deliver properly. She was in labour for 24 hours before her parents brought her to the hospital. Without surgery her uterus could have ruptured, killing both her and the baby. Fortunately her parents brought her here in time.

"The surgery was quite straightforward, we managed to deliver the baby in less than an hour. Both mother and daughter are doing well, in fact the baby has been named Hafsa in my honour.”

MSF in Marere

MSF has worked in Marere since 2003. In Marere hospital, MSF staff provide out-patient services for adults and children and in-patient care for children, medical and maternity cases. Medical staff provide delivery services, including emergency obstetric care, therapeutic and supplementary feeding, surgery (mainly obstetric), outpatient curative and preventative services and tuberculosis treatment.

In nearby Jilib MSF runs a feeding programme but was forced to suspend these activities in August 2009 due to insecurity. In the first six months of 2009, MSF teams in Marere provided 18,104 outpatient consultations and admitted 536 patients to hospital. 2,453 children were treated for malnutrition and 3,373 received vaccinations.

MSF runs ten projects in eight regions of Somalia. For more information, visit the MSF country page for Somalia here.

Watch this video:
http://somalidoc.com/smf/index.php/topic,1634.0.html


"you never cure a patient, you treat pain often but you always comfort the patient."
www.somalidoc.com


Offline Yaxya

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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2009, 09:02:54 PM »
wow mashalaah dr.Hafsa bright as always i'm proud of ya my sister,my collegue, and my ex-classmate and i wish the  best 4 u 
الأسوار التي تحيط بنا عالية، وعلى من لا يستطيع أن يهدمها أو يقذفها أو يتسلق عليها... عليه أن لا يزين للباقين الجلوس خلفها.

Offline Dr. Lulu

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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 01:27:04 AM »
MashaAllah. Very touching! May Allah strenghten and protect all our doctors back home. I'd love to go back once im qualified inshaAllah.

Offline Mandeq

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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 12:20:03 PM »
Mashaa laah , I'm so proud of Dr, Hafsa i used to go middle school with her before i left somalia , may allah guard her through those diffiucult times im somalia.

Offline Abdulrazzak

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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2009, 12:53:51 PM »
thakz Hafsa for your collobration with somali Medical ..... do u have data materanity rate in  merer? hopefully you will finish u work succesfuly..
thankz again.

Offline dr-awale

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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2009, 03:59:02 PM »
thnk to dr. hafsa, she is my ex- classmate , i know her very well,  she was active , talent, and very good in education, i said to her win every thing esp. marere, and i request to god to help u my sister dr. hafsa.
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Re: Graduate from Benadir University becomes part of MSF team in Somalia
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2009, 11:41:47 PM »
In the South Galcayo hospital, 144 Somali MSF staff are working to keep surgical activities running in an insecure area where violent clashes occurs often.

In the central Somali city of Galkayo, Dr. Abdullahi Adan Mohamoud is working for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to provide health care to a vulnerable population trapped in a conflict-ridden and divided city. In this interview, he discusses the medical needs in Galkayo and his experience working as a surgeon in Somalia.

Why is MSF’s surgical facility in South Galkayo Hospital so important?
The MSF surgical facility in Galkayo is very important because it is the only free surgical facility in a region affected by frequent violent clashes. It caters for many people, in towns and villages as far away as Dhusa Mareeb (150 miles). The people in this region are too poor to afford private surgery, which costs a fortune. Furthermore, there are very few surgeons working in Somalia as a whole. The majority are concentrated in Mogadishu, which is far away from Galkayo (about 450 miles).

What kinds of surgeries do you perform?
We perform all types of surgery, however, war-wounded patients make up roughly half of the patients we operate on. This is sporadic and very unpredictable, like the clashes. We also carry out pathological surgeries for things like intestinal obstructions, appendicitis, ulcers and C-sections in the maternity unit—assisting with the safe delivery of babies when there is a difficulty.

How long has MSF been providing surgery in Galkayo?
The MSF surgical facility in Galkayo has been operating for five years. I took up my position here four months ago. Before I arrived, MSF had been forced to stop surgical activities for around 10 months due to lack of human resources. It is very good that we can now offer the service again.

Can you tell us about any recent incidents that illustrate your work?
In late October and early November, Galkayo experienced a number of heavy clashes, including an explosion. As a result, the hospital received around 45 injured people, in this instance, predominantly men.

The explosion took place after midnight and the hospital was flooded with wounded. Unfortunately, there were two patients with very heavy injuries who died at the triage before even reaching the operational theatre.

People had all kinds of injuries, ranging from minor injuries to major abdominal and vascular injuries. The easier cases needed medical treatment and the major cases needed surgical intervention. We managed to save every single patient we treated and now all of them are conscious and some are even discharged.

One case in particular stands out, as the man was very confused. He had come from the north of Galkayo, which is a difficult journey due to the division of the city. He had multiple injuries and needed surgical treatment. However, his condition made it difficult to get the necessary consent. Thankfully, we could eventually treat the man, thanks to support from the elders. He is now much better.

How did you get into surgery?
Actually, I did not choose this career at the beginning. I was thinking of fleeing the country as the violence was becoming intolerable. However, my brother encouraged me to go to university and study. I took his advice and studied hard at Benadir University in Mogadishu. In 2008, I graduated, among the first group of doctors to graduate in Somalia since the fall of Siad Barre. After graduation I went to Medina hospital to gain specialist training in surgery, facilitated by MSF.

How do you feel about your job?
I enjoy doing this job. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. The part I enjoy the most is seeing my patients coming back to the hospital after treatment and thanking me and encouraging me. This gives me feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment.
"you never cure a patient, you treat pain often but you always comfort the patient."
www.somalidoc.com


 

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