Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Statement from the United Nations System in Somalia on Its Support to Contain COVID-19

Mogadishu  – Somalia, like many other countries in the world, is facing the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The UN family in Somalia stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Somalia during this testing time. We will continue to support all efforts to address the immediate health and long-term socio-economic impact of COVID-19,” said James Swan, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia.
 We must all unite to prevent the spread of the virus. We need to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable in our communities, including internally displaced people, the infirm and the elderly.
The United Nations appeals to everyone in Somalia to come together in this fight against the pandemic.
“We echo the call of the Secretary-General for an immediate global ceasefire to put aside violence, mistrust, hostilities and animosity, and to focus on battling the virus, not each other”, said Mr. Swan. “This is essential in order for life saving assistance to reach communities across the country. Here in Somalia, the United Nations calls for a cessation of acts of violence and terrorism so that all resources and support can be channeled to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To reinforce the ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 at the federal and state levels as well as limit the possibility of further spread of the virus, the United Nations has established system-wide operating, medical and support procedures. A task force has been established to ensure business continuity and agencies have developed a detailed preparedness and response plan in support of the Government’s efforts.
Our robust support to Somalia continues,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula. “All agencies remain engaged and continue to deliver critical assistance to those most in need.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the specialized UN agency for health, continues to support the Somali health sector by scaling up its operational readiness and response to COVID-19. WHO’s support has been essential to rapidly establish a mechanism for testing and confirmation of suspected cases, and isolating suspected cases to prevent onward transmission.
“The WHO is heavily engaged with the Somali health authorities for case findings, contact tracing, testing, isolation and containment activities with the intention of virus suppression and delaying patient surge,” said Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, the WHO Country Representative in Somalia. “We will continue to work as One UN and keep the country safe showing our solidarity, unity and partnership with the government.”
For its part, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) continues to carry out its mandate to provide logistics support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as elements of the Somalia security forces engaged in joint security operations with AMISOM. The UN COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator, UNSOS Director Amadu Kamara, is joining the Somali national task force for COVID-19 response. In this context, UNSOS and AMISOM were able to assist the Somali government to respond to the first suspected COVID-19 cases.
Other UN agencies and programmes are supporting the implementation of the COVID-19 response plan by providing technical expertise and logistics to the Federal Government and federal member states. Some of these are training health workers, providing equipment for isolation centres, including testing kits, personal protective gear, expanding early detection capabilities and scaling up hygiene responses. To address one of the most pressing needs, the UN’s World Food Programme plans to distribute two months’ worth of food rations in anticipation of the deteriorating situation.
“The world is facing an unprecedented crisis that requires a swift and decisive response. We, as the UN family, will continue working side by side with the Government to ensure the Somali people are protected, while still maintaining our regular life-saving activities that address the needs of the most vulnerable Somalis,” Mr Abdelmoula added.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

In Somalia, Coronavirus goes from fairy tale to nightmare

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At first, the coronavirus was just a fairy tale, a rumor along the dusty lanes of the displaced persons’ camp that Habiba Ali calls home.
It seemed fantastical: an illness sweeping the world far beyond Somalia’s borders, killing thousands of people and sending some of the richest countries into panic.
Figure. Anesthesia Material and Devices; Right, Box in Intensive Care Unit, taken from
Then Somalia's first virus case was announced on March 16, and one of the world’s most fragile nations staggered even more. Nearly three decades of conflict, extremist attacks, drought, disease and a devastating outbreak of locusts have taken a vast toll.
Already vulnerable, millions of Somalis now contemplate a new way to die.
We have been overcome with an extraordinary fear about the disease,” Ali said as she worried about her six children. “And we are even avoiding shaking hands with people. Our fear is real, and we are helpless.
Even as mask-wearing health workers entered her Sayidka camp in the capital, Mogadishu, to demonstrate lathering up with soap and water, some authorities shuddered. Small children mimicked the virus prevention measures, happily covering their mouths with their hands.

Somalia ranked 194th of 195 countries in the Johns Hopkins Global Health Security Index for 2019 and scored zero in several areas, including emergency preparedness, emergency response, infection control practices and health care access.
The country lacks essential equipment for the kind of intensive care that COVID-19 patients, sometimes gasping for breath, desperately need, Health Minister Fawsia Abikar told The Associated Press. Less than 20 beds in intensive care units are available.

Somalia also has lacked the capability to test for the new virus, meaning samples are sent abroad and results delayed for more than a week. Quarantine tents have been erected around an old port in Mogadishu. As of Sunday, all international and domestic flights, except for emergency medical and food cargo, have been suspended.
This is a disease which has overwhelmed more sophisticated health care systems of countries than ours, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed warned in a public awareness campaign.

A third virus case was confirmed in recent days. The person infected is a contractor for the United Nations at the heavily fortified compound at the international airport where many diplomats and aid groups are based.
Somalia's fate depends in part on another, more dangerous authority, the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group that controls or holds sway in parts of the central and southern regions.
Somali health providers working on an extreme medical circumstances in response to outbreaks (common; source
Al-Shabab often strikes in the heart of the capital, with fighters detonating suicide bombs at checkpoints or infiltrating offices posing as employees. Chances for infection also exist along major roads in Somalia where the group operates a system of forced taxation.
While al-Shabab leaders recently met to discuss the coronavirus as a precaution, the group has been hostile to humanitarian workers during past emergencies. Few people expect anything different now.
Lessons from previous epidemics, including the cholera outbreak in 2017, tell us that it’s unlikely they will allow humanitarian partners access to areas that are in need,” the Somalia director for Action Against Hunger, Ahmed Khalif, told the AP. But “they let people seek health care (elsewhere) when they were overwhelmed by the numbers, so we expect a similar reaction.
From his office in Mogadishu where desks have been pushed apart for social distancing, Khalif worries along several lines.
Because of a lack of governance over the years, Somalis have thrived on social networks that are now threatened, he said. The warm personal embraces must end, even though some people mistakenly think Somalia’s hot weather will defeat the virus.
And some 6 million Somalis live in squalid conditions, many of them uprooted by past disasters. Most are acutely hungry.
Hundreds of thousands cling to existence on the fringes of Mogadishu, their homes of corrugated metal, even hanging cloth, jammed side-by-side. Access to water is severely limited.
It’s going to be beyond anyone’s imagination," Khalif said. "A widespread outbreak of the disease would be catastrophic to the people who are already vulnerable.
The virus doesn’t discriminate among rich or poor, he said. Elsewhere in Mogadishu, better-off citizens have rushed to stock up on face masks, sanitizer and gloves.
“Demand is extremely high,” Abdulkhadir Muse, a pharmacist, said as shelves emptied. ”The problem is that some people are buying and hoarding marks to sell them at a higher price.”
Crowds of shoppers mingled in the city of 2.5 million people, some still shaking hands in greeting.
The health system is showing strain. Some hospitals in Mogadishu have turned away people with high fevers, several people told the AP, raising the concern about possible stigma that those infected with the virus might face. They spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern about that stigma.
If confirmed, such practices could further discourage patients from coming out and seeking medical attention, said Dr. Ali Hassan, an internal specialist.
Across town, deep in the Sayidka camp, resident Yusuf Ibrahim contemplated being uprooted yet again. Drought forced him from home three years ago.
“As displaced people, we are vulnerable,” he said. “If this disease spreads between us, we will suffer.”
Guled reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Cara Anna in Johannesburg contributed.

Our unforgettable visit to Somalia and shocking news

Finally our memorable visit to Somalia … It was part of our travel to various parts of the globe occasioned by surgery, Rotary and a burning desire to see the world, a pursuit in which Marie and I were equally interested.
Dr. Yusuf K. Dawood, a celebrated surgeon and formidable author
The Somali visit came about because after the border dispute between Kenya and the country, which led to Shifta war was resolved, a large number of Somalis arrived in Kenya for medical treatment.
The term ’medical tourist’ was not in common usage but they were the earliest ones.
As a result, my multi-cultured practice was further embellished by colourful, sharp featured, attractive Somalis. Among them was Yassin Noor Hassan, Home Minister, and his wife, Marwa.
In time, Yassin became a frequent visitor and a friend. He often asked me to visit Somalia and revamp the medical facilities run by the Italians as result of a colonial legacy.
I did not realise how serious he was until I received an official invitation to the 9th anniversary of their independence to be celebrated on July1, 1969. Along with the invitation were four return tickets for Marie, Jenny, Jan and I. Attached was a proposed itinerary, which included sightseeing and official visits to various hospitals.
The first two days in Mogadishu, which was brightly illuminated and richly decorated for the occasion, were spent on the independence anniversary celebrations. We sat in the VIP enclosure next to the presidential dais from where President Shermarke took the salute from the Armed Forces, students, boy scouts and folklore groups.
Not far from us sat the official Kenya delegation led by Fritz DeSouza, deputy speaker of the National Assembly. Later that day, Yassin escorted me to Villa Somalia to see the President, whose simplicity and humility were highly impressive. He wore an old cotton suit, slightly frayed at the collar and a thinly embroidered Somali cap.
By the side of his chair rested his wooden walking stick. His office was equally unostentatious; on the floor was a sisal carpet. There was an old wooden desk behind which he sat on a rickety old chair and in front were two chairs which Yassin and I occupied. He spoke softly and expressed deep concern for the welfare of his people.
He supported his Home, minister’s request that I survey the existing hospital facilities and compile a report on how they could be improved In this connection, he expressed hope that foreign aid would be coming soon to finance his health programme, a crying need of all the African presidents I met.
When my formal visit ended, the President requested me to see his daughter Nadifa and give her my professional advice. As I took my leave, he presented me with a walking stick with Somali star inscribed on the handle, a gift I have treasured to date. It did not escape my notice that it was more maridadi than his own!
From there, Yassin took me to the Prime-Minister’s office. Mr Egal was a different type of man, flamboyant, very urbane and supremely confident. He wore what to me looked like an expensive designer’s Italian suit. He echoed the President’s wish to reorganise their medical services and added that I should visit his country regularly to oversee the changes.
The next day, a Cessna plane and a pilot — Haji Saleh — a very cheerful officer from the Somali Air-force, were at our disposal to tour the country as per the itinerary sent and approved by us.
Our first stop was Kismayu, a seaside place where the beach with its unspoilt sand and seclusion made us feel that we were desecrating it as we walked on it and left our footprints.
We then toured Afgoi and Giohar, their lovely tourist spots, with me visiting hospitals, everywhere we went.
Two days before we left Somalia, we heard the shocking news that Tom Mboya had been assassinated in Nairobi on July 5. According to the reports we received in Mogadishu, the young minister destined to succeed Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was shot in the chest in broad daylight as he came out of Channi’s Pharmacy owned by a Sikh couple we knew very well, on Government Road.
The motive of the assassination was not known but it was presumed by political pundits that it was related to the likelihood of him succeeding Mzee. That naturally led the political hierarchy of our host country to accuse Kenya of being a tribal and ‘man eat man’ society.
Reverting to our visit, we had to curtail the length of our stay due to constraint of time and skip our scheduled visit to Hargeisa, which became the capital of self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland when it broke away from war-ridden Somalia.
On the day of our departure, Yassin came to see us off at Mogadishu airport and presented me with an eight-piece ivory desk set on behalf of the government of Somalia, and suitably inscribed. In case anyone has his or her eye on this precious set, let me announce here and now that the set was gifted before the ban on ivory was promulgated.
While I was compiling my report on the reorganisation of hospitals to benefit the country, the devastating news came to the effect that President Shermarke had been assassinated on October 15.
He was shot dead while visiting a drought-stricken area in the north-eastern part of his country.
Twenty-four hours after he was buried, a military coup overthrew Somalia’s democratically elected government and set up a revolutionary council under Siad Barre, and made a mess of the beautiful land from which they have not still recovered.
Unfortunately, this became a trend at the end of the last century; coups, political assassinations and military takeovers, taking us back to the dark ages and with corruption in high circles hindering the political and economic progress of our great continent. Yassin fled his country and the military coup put paid to my plans for Somalia.

Somalis Over-represented Among Coronavirus Victims in Stockholm, as COVID-19 Reaches Blighted Areas

Members of the Somali community complained that the authorities' information about the spread of coronavirus was insufficient and came too late. To rectify this, materials in 15 languages are now being distributed.
The city of Stockholm has reported a rise in COVID-19 cases, noting that residents of so-called vulnerable areas are over-represented among the newly-infected.
Photo file: Somali community in Sweden filmed by Al Jazeera English 
At least six of the 15 who died from the coronavirus have a Somali background, national broadcaster SVT reported.
At the same time, a spread of the infection was reported in the Järva area, which includes the districts of Kista-Rinkeby and Tensta. Up to 90 percent of the population of these communities have an immigrant background, and they feature in Sweden's list of vulnerable areas. A local doctor suggested to the Expressen newspaper that the virus could have spread several weeks ago, during the Friday prayer at a local mosque.
When [coronavirus] spread to Sweden, there was not so much information in Somali, and many continued living as usual,” doctor Jihan Mohamed, board member of the Swedish Somali Medical Association, told SVT.
Mohamed suggested crowded conditions as one of the explanations to the over-representation of COVID-19 cases among fellow Somalis.
“Many live in crammed quarters there. Several generations can live in the same apartment,” Mohamed suggested.
She also believed that cultural aspects may have played a role in the spread of the disease.
“In Somali culture, it is important to socialise, support and visit each other, especially if someone is ill,” she said.
Somali imam Hussein Farah of Rinkeby's Islamic Cultural Centre suggested that the authorities' information on coronavirus in languages other than Swedish was insufficient and came too late. Mohamed Nuur, chairman of the Social Democrats in Tensta, called the lack of information “heartbreaking”.
Amid the spread of the coronavirus in the blighted areas, the authorities are at pains to distribute information material in 15 languages, including Somali. Residents are reminded about the importance of social distancing and staying at home.
To better reach to the growing migrant community, national broadcaster SVT has started texting their news broadcasts in Arabic. SVT cited “the great need for information due to the coronavirus epidemic”.
Several other media, including Expressen, also produced Arabic and Somali material to accommodate non-Swedish readers.
Sweden's Arab-speaking community has by some estimates grown to become the country's largest, surpassing the speakers of Finnish at some point after the 2015 migrant crisis, when 163,000 asylum seekers from predominantly Arab-speaking nations entered the country.
Sweden's Somali diaspora has been rising since the 1990s, bolstered by refugees from the Somali Civil War. Today, it is estimated at over 60,000, with over half of them retaining their Somali citizenship as well. Their vast presence earned Rinkeby the colloquial nickname “Little Mogadishu”.
According to official statistics, Sweden had a total of 2,272 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The average age of the infected was 54, with men constituting 54 percent.

Friday, March 27, 2020

In the Halls of Hematology: Meet Dr. Rahma Warsame, M.D.

Background Dr. Warsame is an Associate Professor of Oncology and Senior Associate Consultant of Division of Hematology at the Department of Internal Medicine. Her research focuses on amyloidosis and multiple myeloma. Dr. Warsame is interested in investigating existing health care delivery systems to improve patient-reported outcomes and quality of life. She is also working on incorporating patient perspectives into clinical practice and determining its effect on clinical outcomes.
Rahma Warsame, M.D
Q&As 1. Why did you choose to be a physician? - I was a refugee from Somalia and my parents told me and I saw what an impact physicians have to those in need, and I wanted to be able to do that for others when I grew up. 2. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a physician? - It has been the challenge of being discredited or rejected for being Black, Woman, Muslim, Immigrant or other things that are not relevant and learning to manage that positively. 3. Message to future physicians: - Kindness and empathy are as important as knowledge in this field and you can always heal even if you cannot treat the patient by being kind.

4-When you are not practicing medicine, what are some of your hobbies?

Movies and literature. I am a huge reader. To the point where I have started my own book club. It started with just my husband and I but grew out of request. A true lover of literature has many favorites, but if I had to pick one it would be the Alchemist by Pablo Cuelo.
I love movies also, and the Oscars are a crazy time for me because I enjoy trying to see all of the movies up for best picture. I don’t always agree with the nominations for best picture though, some movies you wonder to yourself, ‘how did this movie get nominated?’ I also love the musical scores of films, especially Last of the Mohicans. When I am not reading or watching a movie I love to travel and see and experience new places and cultures.

5- From refugee camp, to Canada, to learning a new language, to medical school. That is quite the progression.

My parents were strong advocates for education. They felt passionate that our opportunity for career and social mobility would be through education. Physicians are highly regarded in developing nations. They not only treat your illnesses, they often are one of the only friendly faces you see. My mom always talked so highly of them growing up.
I grew up in Toronto, but I didn’t get in to medical school in Canada. I couldn’t afford medical school in the United States due to the international fees, and so I decided to go to medical school in the Caribbean. I wanted to do something that was going to make an impact. I felt compelled to take advantage of my opportunity coming from a refugee camp. We were lucky, not everyone gets out.

6- After medical school on a small island in the Caribbean, how did you find your way to Mayo Clinic Rochester?

When you are in medical school, Mayo Clinic is regarded as a mecca of medicine. You hope to one day even be able to visit, so when I got my invitation in residency it was such an honor. I thought, ‘well at least I’d get to visit Mayo Clinic if I get an interview.’ The interview process was an exceptional experience. It was supportive, evidence-based and about the patient. I ranked them number one and prayed. I was so excited when I matched with Mayo Clinic.  I still remember that day so fondly!

7- Diversity played a large role in your upbringing and journey through medicine. How has that helped you in your career as a healthcare provider?

When you are a refugee, you have very little to fall back on. I felt like I had no choice but to be driven and successful. Because of that, and my background, I am the diversity leader for the division of Hematology. Before that, I was the diversity co-chair on the Mayo Fellows Association. We host(ed) events focused on diversity and inclusion, monthly dinners for visiting medical students, and surveyed people on their perceptions of diversity and inclusion and potential barriers at Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is a unique place, where even if you are the only person from a particular culture, it’s OK, because we will support you. Diverse ideas and different points-of-view make things better. You get employees that are more comfortable which leads to patients being more comfortable. Mayo Clinic fosters so much support, I feel honored I have the opportunity to help make things better in areas not everyone may know or understand. I think we all have areas in our own life that we can do better, and that is what I am trying to do.

Sources: 1, 2 (for more questions and information about Dr. Warsame, go link 2)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mogadishu's refugees 'waiting for death' as Covid-19 reaches Somalia

In the Nabadoon camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Asho Abdullahi Hassan, a 40-year-old mother of seven, has heard about the coronavirus on the radio.
A Somali girl rests at a camp near Mogadishu after fleeing the Lower Shabelle region. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters
I am very scared about this deadly virus. I only heard about it from the news. It is like we are waiting for death to come, she says.
The camp hosts about 3,000 families, most recently displaced from Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region following an intensification of fighting and US airstrikes.
Humanitarian activists are warning that it may be impossible to stop the spread of the virus in such places, where sanitary precautions are difficult and social distancing impossible. 
In Nabadoon, few can afford soap and water is rare.
“This can get very bad. It will be hard,” said Patrick Youssef, deputy director for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross. “Our fear is that governments will seek to protect those they see as their own populations and people … in refugee camps will be left to fend for themselves.”
The spread of coronavirus in Africa has been much slower than in Europe and Asia, but the World Health Organization is concerned about a steep rise in cases across the continent in recent days.
The WHO’s Africa region – sub-Saharan countries plus Algeria – had recorded 990 confirmed cases and 23 deaths as of Tuesday morning.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, has warned that official numbers may underestimate the scale of infection on the continent. “Probably we have undetected cases or unreported cases,” he said. “In other countries we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point, so the best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and prepare today.”
South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda are the most recent countries to impose stringent new restrictions on movement. President Cyril Ramaphosa said police and army would enforce a three week lockdown from Friday.
But little attention has yet been paid to the 6.5 million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, many living in precarious conditions, often already weakened by malnutrition and disease.
Health officials across Africa know that hospitals can deal with only a fraction of those needing care if the virus spreads through overcrowded cities, remote villages and among vulnerable populations such as those suffering from HIV and other chronic conditions.
Professor Pauline Byakika, a specialist in infectious diseases at Uganda’s Makere University, said prevention and control were key to fighting the virus in the crowded conditions of most refugee camps.
This is a highly infectious disease,” Byakika said. “They are crowded, they don’t have handwash facilities – they don’t even have hand sanitisers – [and] distance between one patient and the other is so close.
Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health, said that any case of Covid-19 in refugee camps would be treated like outbreaks elsewhere.
“We have tents that we have procured, and [which are] ready to be set up to manage people who may get infected wherever,” she said. “For those who are severely ill, they will be referred and managed in the regional referral hospitals whose capacities are being built to handle Covid-19.”
The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has launched a campaign to educate refugees in Uganda about hygiene and sanitation, increase distributions of soap and hand sanitiser, and train health workers.
Experts believe some camps might be shielded to a degree by their distance from urban areas that are the usual entry points of the virus to countries. The age profile of many refugee settlements – with a very high proportion of young people and children – may also boost their resilience.
But a significant risk is that the focus on the threat of coronavirus will distract from other needs.
Students in Mogadishu wear face masks to protect them from the coronavirus. Photograph: Abdirazak Hussein Farah/AFP via Getty Images
Ma’ow Ali Mohamud, a 56-year-old father of eight in a displacement camp in the Hodan area of Mogadishu, said his priority was food. “We only eat one meal every day. I am not bothered about coronavirus. We are lacking food. We do not have clean drinking water. That is my first priority,” he said.
A neighbour, Maryan Abdi Yarow, 70, said she and her family were without protection against the disease. “My children are malnourished. We do not have access to basic healthcare and now they are saying coronavirus has been confirmed in Somalia. If someone is infected then what can they do? Nothing at all.
“The government cannot even provide us clean water for drinking in this displacement camp. There are only six toilets for 1,000 families here. We are praying to God to help us.”

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hennepin Health's Abdirahman Abdi receives 40 Under 40 award

Abdirahman Abdi has seen firsthand the ravages of disease on the neediest of populations.
As a boy forced to leave his war-torn homeland in Somalia for a U.N.-sponsored refugee camp, Abdi volunteered at the camp’s health center, working side-by-side with people from Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontiéres. Today, he is chief financial officer at Hennepin Health, where he is dedicated to enhancing the health of all people, regardless of status.
Abdirahman Abdi of Hennepin Healthcare
His accomplishments include reworking the organization's financial model to reinvest in combating the causes of health disparities and restructuring provider contracts to improve quality and cost efficiencies. He has recruited new staff and developed existing personnel, led the creation of data-based reporting and budgeting tools, provided financial oversight of vendor contracts, and developed accurate financial forecasting.
“Abdi has proven himself to be a gifted, mission-driven, creative and transformative driver of organizational performance,” stated Hennepin
Health CEO Anne Kanyusik Yoakum, who nominated Abdi for the 40 Under 40 award.
The Hamline University graduate, who also holds a Master of Health Administration from the University of Minnesota, sits on the boards of Boy Scouts of America Northern Star Council and Minnesota Computers for Schools.

More from Abdi …

What’s the most stressful or challenging part of your job? 
The most challenging part of my job is also the most rewarding: managing change. Health care is constantly changing, so the ability to use transformational thinking to develop innovative new systems and processes to meet these challenges and achieve results is ever more important for those in the health care field at all levels.

How do you cope with those demanding aspects of your career?
 I am very passionate about creating access to high quality, affordable health care for underserved populations and embrace the idea of throwing yourself into something big that you believe in, obsessively dedicating your life’s work and making sure it’s ambitious enough to stretch you. Also, I have learned from colleagues to take breaks, explore the purpose of my work and do some self-reflection. This has allowed me to bring new energy and vitality to my work life and gain a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper commitment to my work in health care.

What’s your No. 1 goal for 2020? 
Seek more collaboration and partnership with other leaders by providing industry standard expertise that results in sustainable financial performance necessary for Hennepin Health to provide high quality, cost efficient, innovative health care services to our members.

Where were you born and what path led you to the Twin Cities?
I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. After escaping Somalia's civil war and spending four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, my family and I came to Minnesota and the Twin Cities in search of a better life. I consider myself very fortunate and deeply grateful for the opportunities my family and I have received to settle here and build a better future.
There are so many studies published about the habits and traits of different generations. 

What generation do you identify with and why? 
I identify myself as a millennial. I appreciate the diversity in this generation united by a belief in a world of collaboration and unrestricted by geographical borders.

Besides your home, where is your favorite place to go in the Twin Cities? 
My favorite place to go in the Twin Cities is Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. My family and I absolutely love this Minnesota treasure and it is a great way to get out of the house and do something as a family year-round.

Fast facts

Chief financial officer, Hennepin Health
Age: 39
Education: Bachelor’s degree, business administration, Hamline University; master’s degree, health care administration, University of Minnesota
Family: Wife and two children
Board memberships: Minnesota Computers for Schools; Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America

Friday, March 20, 2020

Renowned Australian obstetrician dies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at age 96

Renowned Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Catherine Hamlin AC has died aged 96.
Dr Hamlin died at her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday.
The 96-year-old co-founded Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a healthcare network that treats women with traumatic birth injuries with her husband, Dr Reginald Hamlin, back in 1975.
© AAP Image/Dean Lewins Australian obstetrician and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, poses for photographs in Sydney, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. Dr Hamlin, who lives in Ethiopia helping women who suffer injuries in childbirth, is battling a Sydney-based trust over $15 million donated for her hospital.
The couple first travelled to Ethiopia in 1958 after answering an advertisement in The Lancet medical journal for gynaecologist to set up a school of midwifery.
The couple arrived with their six-year-old son, Richard, for what was to be a three-year contract. Dr Hamlin had lived in Ethiopia for 61 years.
Carolyn Hardy, the chief executive of the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation, paid tribute to Dr Hamlin, describing her as "in our eyes, she is a saint".
"To say Catherine was a remarkable woman is an understatement," Ms Hardy said in a statement on the foundation's website.
"Women and girls who suffered from obstetric fistula have been described as our modern-day lepers…These women and girls are often ostracised from their communities and rejected by their husbands. Catherine Hamlin lived to give these women back their life back."
During her career Dr Hamlin was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in 1995, and named NSW Senior Australia of the Year in 2018.
Last year Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed awarded her with the Eminent Citizen Award in recognition of her lifetime of service to the women of Ethiopia.
Since working in Ethiopia, more than 60,000 local women suffering with obstetric fistula have been given life-changing surgery.
Dr Hamlin is survived by her son Richard and his four adult children, her sister Ailsa Pottie and brothers Donald and Jock Nicholson.