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Edna Adan Ismail visits Gradian

Apr 19, 2013

It’s not every day that the Former Foreign Minister and First Lady of a country stops by your office. On April 8th, we were honored to have Mrs. Edna Adan Ismail visit our offices here in New York City. Edna is an incredible woman, with an even more incredible story.

Edna has many impressive accomplishments. Not only is she Somalia’s first certified nurse-midwife, but she is also the Founder and Director of the Edna Adan University Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Edna also is the former Foreign Minister of Somaliland (2003-2006), former First Lady of Somaliland (1993-2002) and a pioneer in improving maternal care and ending female genital mutilation (FGM) in East Africa. In 2002, she opened the successful maternity hospital using her own resources. The Edna Adan University Hospital also has a new, comprehensive anesthesia training program and Gradian was thrilled to connect with Mrs. Ismail.

Edna was in town to attend the Women In The World Summit, which she attends each year, and we were glad she had some extra time to come visit our offices and give a presentation to a group of interested employees. We also had a surprise for her as well!

Edna gave an inspiring one-hour presentation to Gradian board members and staff from Simons Foundation, Nick Simons Foundation (NSF) and Foundation for a Just Society (FJS). Edna’s passion and knowledge about the healthcare need in Somaliland inspired everyone who attended and it followed with a question and answer session about the work she is doing not only within her hospital, but also to end female genital mutilation throughout Africa (a recent study found that 98% of girls in Somaliland are subjected to the harmful traditional practices that further put their health in peril). You can read more about that here.

The most exciting part of her visit was that members from the Gradian Board presented her with a new UAM that will be installed at Edna Adan University Hospital by the Gradian team in the coming months. Gradian will travel to Somaliland, where they will train anesthesia providers and bio-medical technicians on the UAM. Emily Ryan, Gradian’s Program Coordinator, stated after Edna’s visit, “The Edna Adan University Hospital is an exciting place for us to work with the UAM. Through the hospital’s many educational initiatives and their need to deliver safer anesthesia, we feel that their mission is very much in line with our own – to save lives through safer surgery.”

Installing a UAM at this hospital will not only help to save more lives, but will hopefully inspire many of Edna’s students to learn more about safer surgery and anesthesia.

Edna Adan: “Having the UAM will help us train the current nurse anesthesia technician students being trained at the Edna Adan University Hospital in the use of this magnificently simple and safe anesthesia machine, but will also help us train other Anesthesia technicians from other hospitals in Somaliland as well as those from anywhere in the Somali-inhabited Horn of Africa .”