Eleven women have died in the last two months due to childbirth complications in Bacaadweyne district in central Somalia’s Mudug region, according to local authorities.
The commissioner of Bacaadweyne, Ahmed Dahir Ma’alin, told Radio Ergo that the women died because there are no health services in their villages and few can afford to travel the roughly 200 km to the city of Galkayo, which is the nearest place for medical services.
The commissioner said that during last year 44 women died either during pregnancy or in childbirth. There are around 3,000 drought-hit pastoralists there, who lost their livelihoods in the drought.
Ardo Ali Aabir is one of the women who died last year in Bacaadweyne. Her sister Habibo told Radio Ergo that Ardo was in labour for four days.
“She finally delivered at night on the fourth day, but she still had the placenta in her womb for two more days. Her condition was getting serious and she had no medical attention. She lost a lot of blood and her face and legs were swollen before she died,” Habibo said.
Habibo is now taking care of the four children her sister left behind, including the newborn daughter, who is now in good health.
Habib’s family were unable to pay the $300 it costs to transport to Ardo to a hospital in Galkayo, which is more than 10 hours drive away. They are impoverished after losing most of their former herd of 220 goats, remaining with just 20 animals.
Fadumo Abdi Mohamed is the only traditional birth attendant working in Bacaadweyne. Despite the challenges, she said she had successfully delivered 73 babies in the past two years. She receives women in a room in her house. Once a month Fadumo travels to Galkayo to buy the supplies she needs as there is no pharmacy in Bacaadweyne.
When she is unable to assist women because of complications, such as the baby being in the wrong position, she refers them to Galkayo. Last week, she received Ikram Jama, who had been in labour for two days. She could not help Ikram and referred her to Galkayo.