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How Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care training helped save lives in Somaliland 

26 April 2023

Somaliland has been facing significant challenges in maternal and child health, with high rates of maternal and child mortality. However, recent efforts to address this issue are showing promising results. One such effort is the Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) training program, which has equipped 60 health workers from three different regions with the necessary skills to provide critical care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

The BEmONC training program, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Development and THET, was designed to build the capacity of health workers to provide timely and effective emergency obstetric and newborn care. The training covered a range of topics, including antenatal care, labour and delivery management, postpartum care, newborn care, and emergency obstetric care. The health workers received theoretical and practical training, emphasising hands-on skills development, effective communication, teamwork, and leadership.

The six-day training program included various activities, such as simulations, case studies, group discussions, and role-plays. The participatory approach used by the trainers encouraged active engagement and created a supportive learning environment.


The trained health workers are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide timely and appropriate care for pregnant women and newborns, including identifying and managing complications, conducting safe deliveries, and providing postpartum care.

The BEmONC training program is expected to impact maternal and child health outcomes in Somaliland significantly. Reducing the risk of maternal and newborn deaths will improve overall health outcomes for women and children in the region. The program’s success is a testament to the commitment and collaboration of the Ministry of Health Development, international partners, and the dedicated health workers in Somaliland.

As we move forward, it is crucial to continue building on this momentum and scaling up efforts to strengthen the health system further, improve access to quality healthcare services, and promote community awareness about maternal and child health. With continued commitment and collaboration, we can make a difference and ensure that every mother and child in Somaliland has the opportunity to thrive.

Celebrating a midwife's heroic efforts: Meet Wasiira

Imagine being faced with a pregnant woman in distress, her condition deteriorating rapidly, and you have to make an urgent decision to save her and her baby’s lives. This was the situation that Wasiira, a midwife at Abdi Idan Health Center in Somaliland, found herself in. Fortunately, Wasiira had recently attended a Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) training facilitated by THET, with funding from Johnson & Johnson, which equipped her with the skills and knowledge to respond effectively to emergencies.

Wasiira and her colleague midwife were presented with a pregnant woman who had not received prenatal care and was unaware of the services available to her. Using a partograph, a tool she learned to use during the training, Wasiira monitored the woman’s labour and the fetus’s condition. After noticing signs of prolonged labour with no progress to the second stage, she used a vacuum extractor to assist with the delivery.

However, after 45 minutes of unsuccessful placenta expulsion, Wasiira encountered another challenge – a retained placenta and significant bleeding indicating primary postpartum haemorrhage. Based on her training, Wasiira remembered a technique to stop postpartum haemorrhage. She started massaging the uterus while administering oxytocin through intravenous infusion. The bleeding eventually stopped, and the woman’s condition improved.

Wasiira’s confidence and ability to take swift action were a result of the skills and knowledge she acquired during the BEmONC training. 

The training, which targeted 36 midwives from six health centres in the Maroodijeeh region, focused on best practices and allowed for exchanging experiences among health centre personnel.

Before the training, Wasiira had some knowledge of vacuum extraction but needed more confidence to apply it. Despite having the necessary equipment, she felt overwhelmed by labour complications as a team. However, the training has given her the confidence to handle emergencies and support pregnant women in her community. Wasiira and her colleagues at Abdi Idan Health Center are committed to continuing their efforts to save lives and provide quality care to pregnant women in need.

The impact of the BEmONC training goes beyond just one successful case. It has equipped midwives like Wasiira with essential skills to handle emergency obstetric care, reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates in Somaliland. The training has also fostered a supportive network among health centre personnel, allowing for knowledge sharing and continuous learning.

The story of Wasiira and her life-saving actions highlights the importance of investing in training and empowering midwives in emergency obstetric care. The skills and knowledge gained from such training can significantly save lives and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes. As Wasiira and her colleagues continue their work, they serve as inspiring examples of the impact that training can have in underserved communities.

This post was written by:

THET - Somaliland Team


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