• Mogadishu

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 10:16:43 AM
    Last Update : Monday, February 12, 2024 at 4:03 PM

Increasing Suffering of Displaced Somali Pregnant Women Due to Lack of Healthcare

(AWP) - Pregnant women in the camps for displaced Somalis are suffering a lack of healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, exposing them and their unborn children to the risk of contracting various diseases.

Medical checkups for pregnant women in the camps are mainly carried out by traditional midwives, who are aided by international NGOs, aiming to provide a minimum level of care for women and their children.

Amna Eissa, a midwife at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, said, “Traditional midwives in Mogadishu camps do not have many of the necessary supplies to follow up and examine pregnant women and the childbirth process. They only have clean water and a knife to cut the umbilical cord. We do not have medical suturing tools. We need all the medical tools for childbirth.”

Her comments were echoed by Anesa Abdullah, a pregnant woman at the camp, who said that “there is no hope of getting healthcare in these camps.”
She added, “The most basic medical supplies are not available here. Labour can suddenly happen at night. Our living situation is difficult, and my health condition is poor. There is also no emergency centre for treating pregnant women.”

According to another pregnant woman at the camp, Farhia Mohammed, midwife Eissa “provides some assistance, such as examination through traditional methods, but she has nothing else to offer.”

Mohammed continued, “We face many risks and are exposed to [medical] issues all the time. The period of labour may be prolonged, or labour may spring on us. Our problem is the lack of healthcare in the camp. We need prenatal care, and the conditions of pregnant women vary from one woman to another.”

Somalia has one of the world’s highest risks of maternal death during childbirth, an issue that is made even worse in camps for displaced people.
Local statistics also indicate that the rate of infant deaths at birth in Somalia is at least 1%.