– July 10 2017
Birthday celebrations in Mogadishu
Twin girls born prematurely at the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu celebrate their first birthday.
Hawa's twin daughters will soon be celebrating their first birthday and her family has every reason to celebrate. Weighing just two few pounds each, the twins were born by Caesarean section one year ago. Their chances of survival were low. But thanks to the support and care of the SOS Children's Village Hospital in Mogadishu, they have thrived.
Somalia is one of the countries with the highest child and maternal mortality rates. Often the expectant mothers have no or very limited access to qualified medical care. The extreme food insecurity caused by the severe drought further aggravates the situation. In Somalia, 1.4 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.
Twenty-eight-year-old Hawa lost her first baby after three days of labour because she did not have access to a healthcare facility. At the last moment, family members took her to the hospital of the SOS Children's Village, where doctors were able to save her life but not her child's. At that time, the doctors informed Hawa that future births would have to be delived by Caesarean section.
"I was shocked at the loss of my baby and the sad news that I am unable to deliver normally like other women."
Today Hawa lives not far away from the SOS Children's Hospital in Mogadishu. So when she was expecting her second child, she could go regularly for check ups. Her second pregnancy and birth went without complications.
Compared to the second pregnancy, the third was quite different. From the beginning Hawa felt very tired and heavy. Because of her symptoms, doctors prescribed an ultrasound that revealed Hawa was pregnant with twins. "I felt fear and joy at the same time," the young woman recalls. The doctors were able to calm her down and watched her pregnancy very closely.
In the eighth month, Hawa was hospitalised because of high blood pressure and labour pains. Her condition was stabilised and the babies were delivered by Caesarean section.
Despite the successful pregnancy, both children were extremely underweight. The infants were brought to the neonatal ward and cared for there.
The parents worried about their children's lives, but the ward's doctors and staff did not give up: both babies were revived and incubated until their condition improved. They were given antibiotics and were fed by a feeding tube. Eventually, they gained weight and were able to go home after 40 days.
As she left to take her new babies home, Hawa told staff of the SOS Children's Hospital hospital with the words: "I will be grateful to you forever."