HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Mrs. Edna Adan Ismail, the Director of Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, has been awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, by the French Embassy of Djibouti on Saturday, in recognition of her Humanitarian work.

The order, Legion d’Honneur, which was created by Emperor Napoleon in 1804, is France’s highest decoration and is usually awarded to French nationals who have delivered exceptional service to the Republic of France. However, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy has in person decided to award Mrs Edna for her humanity work in Somaliland, in particular for addressing women and children issues. She was to receive the award on the 16th of April along with the American fashion designer and business icon, Ralph Lauren, for his “his outstanding career and his philanthropic activities and interest in France” in Paris.

The French Ambassador, Mr. Dominique Decherf, who delivered the award on behave of the French leader, said, the French president wanted to award Mrs. Edna in person but Mrs Edna preferred her to be awarded in her own country. Mr. Decherf, along with a high-level French delegation delivered the award to her in her own community hospital.

Mrs. Edna, who runs her own maternity hospital also served as the Minister of Social Welfare in August, 2002, and then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Somaliland in May, 2003, until late 2006.
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Mrs. Edna who was also the first lady when Somaliland received it’s independence from Britain in 1960 has received numerous awards and recognitions from various nations and organisations for her lifelong contribution to Humanitarian work.

In January of this year, Edna received the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, for her “outstanding contribution to humanity”, and for helping the “under-privileged people of Somaliland to realize their right to health”.

In February, Mrs. Edna was invited to the Women in the World Summit at the United Nation by US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

In October of 2009, Edna was invited to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) by former US president, Mr. Bill Clinton.

In July of 2008, she received her Honorary Fellowship in Nursing from the prestigious Cardiff University in Wales. Prior to her Honorary Fellowship, Mrs. Edna obtained a Honorary Doctoral Degree from the Clark University in Massachusetts, United States.

In March of 2007, Mrs Edna’s name was added to the Medical Mission Hall of Fame, University of Toledo, Ohio, USA, making her the only African on the list.

Mrs. Edna found and funded the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa in 2002, by March 2002 the first baby was born and has since delivered 9600 babies. Edna told Lynn Sherr of the Daily Beast, that the hospital has reduced the maternal mortality rate by one-fourth since it opened its doors, losing 39 babies, a number, Edna says its still too high. Edna says the causes are lack of education, provery and harmful traditional practices.

The hospital was built on former grave yard, where former Somali military massacred thousands of civilians. The hospital has served more than 96, 000 other patients of mainly women and children, performed more than 2000 various surgical operations. Edna Maternity Hospital provides diagnosis and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases including testing for HIV/AIDS and it’s facilities are open for other clinics and hospitals for medical research, studies and consultations.

As well as treating the sick and delivering babies, the hospital also runs a Nursing school that has since graduated 106 general nurses, 42 post basic midwives, 21 community midwives, 56 lab technicians, and currently have a student population of 157. As well as the school dedicated to training nurses and midwives, the hospital has it’s own library, two operating theatres, Laboratory room, and computer centre.

In the 80s, Mrs. Edna also built a private hospital in Mogadishu but shortly after it was completed the civil war began and some warlord has since occupied her premises. She also worked as Regional Nursing Adviser (Djibouti) under the World Health Organisation in 1987, before taking up, Regional Technical Officer for Mother and Child Health for 22 countries in the region (East Africa, Middle East and Mediterranean). Mrs. Edna continues to be strong advocate against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other traditional birth practices as well as creating awareness for children health in particular in maternal and infant mortality.

Mrs. Edna Adan is the first Somali to be decorated with the all prestige Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, which only few foreign nationals have ever received. She was awared on Saturday, the 17th of April 2010, in Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, Hargeisa, Somaliland.

The French delegation consisted of Mr. Dominique Decherf, French Ambassador to Djibouti and Mr. Thierry Choinier, the first secretary of the French Embassy in Djibouti, Mr. Banos Robles Bernard and Mr. Jacques Sabrot, from the French Ministry of education and the Ministry of Culture respectively (see British and French diplomats arrive).

The guests to witness the occasion included Somaliland foreign minister, Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed Dualeh, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdirahman Osman Adan, members of parliament, doctors, nurses, students and other dignitaries.

Photo: Edna receives Legion d’Honneur from French Ambassador, Mr. Dominique Decherf (Geeska Afrika Newspaper/17 April 2010)
Somalilandpress, 18 April 2010

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Below: Edna serving her people and on  the world stage, Congratulations Edna from Somalilandpress Team.

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To support her Humanitarian work and hospital, please visit, http://www.ednahospital.org/, you can click on the support button to donate.


  1. When first Somalilandpress reported that, the French wanted Somaliland universities to include French language in their curriculum, I did say they were racist and haters, but it seems they are human too. hahahaha I never really seen them as normal people because all they talk about is every thing French and dont like to explore and mix with others including other cultures.

    As it says they dont usually award others with this but Im happy that they also recognized the work people like Edna Adan does for others and now I see the French as normal people 🙂

    I want to say congratulations Edna you are very deserving and we love you and we appreciate all the things you do for our people and nation. You never stop Edna and you inspire us all.

    Well done president Sarkozy, you have shown another side of the French society.

  2. If you lived in Hargeisa, you would know that Edna charges money for delivering babies. Many women are turned away at the door because they are too poor to pay.

    • My cousin gave birth there without charge, and recieved the best service they offer. Those who are able to pay should pay. After all, most of the money they make goes back to the community, particularly, the young men and women they train there.

  3. ^^^ Typical southern posing as Somalilander to cause a confusion.

    Congrats to Adna, a noble woman.

  4. Wow, I was just chilling with her earlier today and didn't get this news till after… I would've congratulated her in person… I hear all the bad things that have been said about her, but every time I see her she seems to be a pretty cool gal.

    Mo Hussein

  5. Another positive news coming from Somaliland by SomalilandPress.
    Keep up the excellent work SomalilandPress.

    Warsame Haji Abdi
    London, UK

  6. First Foremost I am very Proud of Madam Adna, She is a remarkable woman, and a Great Somalilander, however i want reporters and writers should present their facts right, i.e "" Mrs. Edna who was also the first lady when Somaliland received it’s independence from Britain in 1960 "", Despite being a big fan of Adna, she was not the first lady during independence, she was wife number TWO of Late Egal.

    Once again we should all be proud of our great lady Adna, and stop critizing her, She charges for delivery of babies, but also there are many who cannot afford who gets free treatment, do not forget if she does all the service for free she would not be able to run n maintemain the Place.

    Congrats to Madame Adna

  7. I once admitted my wife to Edna Hospital and I had to pay more than i do when i bring her to the General hospital. I'm wondering why she says the hospital is free.

    Congratulations to her anyway for her achievements.

  8. The service of the Hospital is free to those who can't afford to pay there or elsewhere. However, those who are able to afford and bound to pay, or go elsewhere, simple.
    The Hospital does not operate on air. Money is needed to keep the service going, and that money (may be 15% of it) come from the patients that are treated there. It is not a rocket science, or is it, people.

    Congratualations to Edna, she is indeed a tru worior for her country and people.

    • The service is NOT free to those who cannot afford it. Why does everyone keep saying that she runs it for free. She is a patriotic Somalilander, but she is also a businesswoman. Please get your facts straight.

  9. As always, Edna and her work for the people of Somaliland make us all proud.

    The awards she get is the award for all Somalilanders.Those of you who write nonsense about this lady knows nothing about her, please shut up!
    Once again, congratulation, Edna of you.

  10. Lady indeed, a woman of essence and with undisputed talents, a truly warrior and effortless contributor to our nation. She puts Somaliland on the map every time a Foreign Leader recognizes her humanitarian efforts. Way to go, Edna.

    She is our hero, a role model, and a national treasure. Those who are spreading negative things about her are either don't know her enough or speaking out of jealousy.

    Congratulations, Edna you deserve it and you made us very proud.

  11. I am soo happy to read this as a somali. Long live Edna, you are a true somali, thank you for you contributions to Somalia and the somali people. You have given sharaf and knowledge to the great somali people, may Allah blesh you and our beloved Somalia amen.

  12. Congfrutulation Madam Adna, i think it ishuman nature for some people to be always negative and look thins in the pessimism angle. Those guys or girls i would like to say them dont jump into conclution before you find all the facts. if some one can afford to pay the service she/he has to pay coz this place cant runn without some money. There is no where else in the world poeple do get free service while they can afford it.
    Anyway, she is doing good job and we are all admire what she does for her peopl. We should follow her steps and start helping her wiv donations and anything we can.
    In africe generally and somaliland particulary we need more people like her so that life in our countries will be better and we should stop critising each other without tuachable facts. God bless Adna

  13. Belated Congrats to Edna, this French honour is equal in the US to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Canada, Order of Canada, UK, a Knighthood…Amazing, a proud day for all Somalilanders..

  14. The name Edna! must got somthing to do with this ………eh?all you mothers out there think a sec. when you given names to your doughters /sons…lol.

    Now we know why Ina Igal was a great man………I salut her!

  15. Belated Congrats, Dear Edna. Once again, you have made us very proud. Your achievements is a thumbs up for Somalis in the Diaspora and the Homeland; and Somaliland is once again in the Spotlight. You gals and boys out there, please, stop saying all those unkind things. Come on, people, there’s got to be a fee. How does one expect her to run the Hospital? Edna, we love you and keep going. God Bless you. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Somaliland Press for their excellent coverage of events and news.