“We were in March, some years ago. One day, around mid-afternoon, a mini bus almost full of people rushed in the Jazeera Health Centre, located about 20km out of Mogadishu. There was a pregnant woman in final labour contraction, ready to deliver her baby. We immediately put her in a birthing room, but I soon realised that there were some complications. The baby was not in the right position, but horizontal across the womb. The only solution for this kind of delivery was a fully equipped hospital, but it was too late to even think about transferring the woman. So, I started praying in the hope of some kind of miracle while massaging her womb in the attempt of moving the baby – a method that rarely succeeds in these situations. Meanwhile, her family was desperately trying to call an ambulance. Suddenly, I fell the baby moving toward the right position and in no time the woman’s water broke. In 10 minutes, it was all over and a beautiful and healthy girl was born. Her mother and the rest of her family were so happy and started celebrating. I remember that on that night I could not stop myself from crying.”
A breath-taking story, that of Meymun, a nurse midwife who has been working with Cesvi since 2017 to support Somali women across the whole process of pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. Meymun is a midwife with 15 years of experience and she is an example of how it can be possible to manage extremely delicate projects with very little international staff by investing in the training of our national colleagues.
Around the Jazeera Health Centre there are many villages where many vulnerable families live. They are relying on Cesvi for everything related to health, nutrition and vaccines because there is no other free healthcare centre in the surrounding area. The services are provided by Cesvi staff or volunteers, well known and trusted within the community. Trust is a fundamental aspect of our activity because many women are still turning to Traditional Birth Attendants, i.e. women who have already given birth and have a role within the villages to help deliver babies, despite having received no medical training.
“Here, Cesvi’s intervention is extremely important” says Meymun. “Without our services, many people would run into severe health problems. People often greet us with gratitude, like that mother who told me she would have never forget Cesvi and its staff”.