Fadumo Mohamed Abdullahi, a mother of four, is eight months pregnant and is getting ante-natal care for the first time at the new clinic built in her remote village of God-daamiro in Somaliland.
Two of her children were born in the village with the help of a traditional midwife. With the other two, there were major complications and she had to undergo the long and painful journey by donkey cart to a hospital in Gebilay town, 65 km away, where she was lucky to deliver safely in the end.
“I used to stay at home throughout my pregnancy but when the eighth month came I always worried about getting the right help as the delivery time arrived,” Fadumo said.
The new clinic is also providing treatment for children whose illnesses often went untreated due to lack of services in the village.
The chief of God-daamiro, Ibrahim Adan Qalib, said villagers used to transport their sick people on any kind of hired vehicles or by camel, donkey-carts and sometimes carrying them on their backs.
“We were always being called to help sick women. A month ago, I was called to help a woman in labour and we carried her all the way, but when we reached the hospital she was in critical condition as she bled a lot on the way,” he recalled.
Basra Hassan Mohamed, another resident, told Radio Ergo that she used to wait until the milk lorry passed through the village to get a ride for her sick children to hospital in town.
The new clinic was built by the local Amud Foundation and opened last week. It has wards for children and women and staff accommodation.
Ahmed Abdi Ismail, head of Amud Foundation in Somaliland, told Radio Ergo that five mothers died in childbirth between March and June this year because they could not get professional help.
Since the centre opened, 132 patients have already been treated, according to the director Farah Osman Arab. The centre expects to serve about 4,000 people in the village and nearby areas.
Amud Foundation has handed the management of the centre to the Somaliland authorities, who will pay the salaries of five staff.