Meet laboratory technologist Fatuma Dugey. By setting up blood transfusion services and strengthening laboratory capabilities, Fatuma has revitalized health facilities throughout the war-torn capital of Somalia.
Shaken by the turmoil of a 20-year civil war, Mogadishu’s healthcare system is vastly depleted. Medical workers are confined to their facilities as the jarring sounds of explosions and gunfire are occasionally heard throughout the city. But for Fatuma abdi Dugey, this is no deterrent.
Originally from Kenya, Fatuma joined WAHA International in February 2012 as a laboratory technologist. Her unwavering dedication has helped improve health facilities throughout Somalia.
“The experience and challenges faced in the field have made me stronger and more courageous,” Fatuma says.
At Hanano Hospital, Fatuma helped strengthen laboratory capabilities and set up the first ever blood transfusion service. She trained two lab assistants in blood transfusion and related services, as well as other laboratory procedures.
Although anemia and hemorrhage are some of the major causes of maternal mortality in Somalia, they are often inadequately addressed, resulting in the need of urgent blood transfusions. Worst still, finding eligible donors remains difficult as many people are themselves anemic, malnourished or in poor health.
“I will never forgot the near-death incident of a young and vibrant girl who, upon receiving obstetric fistula surgery, bled uncontrollably,” she recalls. “Having no fresh blood in the bank, WAHA staff was mobilized and three units were immediately made available. When she finally walked out of the hospital several days later, smiling relief was on the faces of all the WAHA staff. This is what makes work in the field worthwhile. ”
Although constant security challenges and the low social ranking of women in Somalia make her job anything but easy, Fatuma finds happiness in her work.
“Ever since I joined WAHA International, life has not been the same,” she says. “It is so wonderful to be a part of the WAHA team that is transforming lives and creating an impact in reproductive health issues in Mogadishu.”
Fatuma now works with the WAHA team at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu.