Mission Profile: Somaliland
Following a decade-long Civil War, Somaliland finally gained independence in 1991. Since then, the country has been in a state of rebuilding. As a relatively new state, it currently ranks 161 of 163 least developed countries in the world. Currently, the United Nations recognizes Somaliland as a region of Somalia, rather than an independent country. This means that Somaliland is unable to receive direct foreign aid from the UN.
Despite these obstacles, one individual has worked relentlessly to implement a reliable healthcare system: Edna Adan, former First Lady and Foreign Minister of Somaliland. Following her stint in the political sector, she went on to establish the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital and the Organization for Victims of Torture. She has dedicated her life to make healthcare more reliable and accessible. On the current medical situation of Somaliland, Adan told Lancet in an interview, “Somaliland has put in place a formidable health service since it separated from Somalia 24 years ago when the people and the government had the task of rebuilding the health service. Today, there is a public hospital in every region and there are mother and child centers throughout Somaliland. It’s a long way from ideal but there is continuing momentum.”
With UN aid out of reach, the contributions of independent organizations are invaluable to bolster Somaliland’s healthcare. Edna touches on this idea in her interview with Lancet: “We now have security and stability with no warlords and the people in government have set up the physical structures of health and education… but we need help to train our health professionals, so we can acquire the knowledge to assist people.”
When Mission to Heal traveled to Somaliland last year, we had the opportunity to work with Edna at her eponymous maternity hospital. Here, we trained local professionals like Sabra and Ashley so that we may indigenize a reliable healthcare legacy. We are returning to Somaliland this summer when we will continue to provide surgical care for patients while fulfilling the core tenants of our mission.