The month of March recorded a gradual increase of activities in our hospital. Also running parallel to our activities is the constant attacks in the city.

Pregnant women waiting in the maternity ward

No less than 3 mortar attacks have targeted the presidential palace – missing and hitting the adjacent IDP camps instead. Several people have been arrested trying to bring improvised explosive devices into the city, and others have been killed in gun attacks and blasts.

The month began with the arrival of our new obstetrician and fistula surgeon, Dr Yunga Foma from Congo. We carried out 26 fistula-related surgeries and 12 cesarean sections in March. We also had 75non-complicated deliveries, some of them coming from IDP camps we support. A majority of patients came from Hodan and Medina sections of the city, but others have traversed rough terrain and hardships to end up in our facility.

One case in point is of a young woman barely in her 20s who, in the company of others, attempted to cross the poverty line by illegally migrating to Yemen, with the hope of finding her way to Europe. Unfortunately they had to contend with numerous roadblocks, nights in the bush and attacks by armed groups. The worst was yet to come when they finally reached Yemen, for she fell victim to rape from the most unexpectedsource-one of the young men fleeing with her! She was so traumatized that she abandoned her plans for a better life abroad. She was deported back to Somalia after one month. Few months later, she realized she was pregnant. Her fearswere confirmed; she had conceived following the rape. She felt lonely, dejected and stigmatized. She confided only to her grandmother who took her in and escorted her to Hanano hospital when she finally went into labor. She gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, a mixed bundle of joy and constant reminder of the tribulations she went through!

A second woman also impressed me. She walked through the dangerous war-ridden region of Ceylasha to reach our hospital. She is in full term pregnancy, and was worried that she may go into labor any time and fail to get help at the hour of need. This is because the region has seen heavy fighting of late between government and Amisom forces on one side and Al Shabab militants on the other. This has made the region a no-go zone at night, and a woman in labor will have to deliver in her house since she cannot even seek the assistance of a traditional midwife in the neighborhood. In her state of extreme poverty, she packed her few belongings and made the daylong journey to Hanano hospital where someone had told her she could obtain services free of charge. This is exactly where she belonged! Now she’s with us waiting to deliver.

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