Somaliland's maternal, infant, and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world. A rudimentary health system already beset by under-investment and neglect collapsed completely during the final years of a civil war which ended in 1991. Hospitals and clinics were looted or destroyed. Health professionals fled to refugee camps or overseas. In 2001, when Somaliland held a referendum which approved the adoption of a new constitution and confirmed the country’s independence from Somalia, the provision of health care to a population estimated at two to three million remained almost non-existent.
Fouzia Mohamed Ismail was one of the highly-qualified nurses and midwives who returned to Somaliland determined to rebuild their professions. In this timely account, published a decade after the referendum, Fouzia relates what has been done to train a new generation of nurses and midwifes, to improve standards of patient care, to develop relevant training programmes, and to foster regulation of the health sector in Somaliland.