Addressing health needs of women and children in Baidoa
International Women's Day

A Nurse's Journey with MSF in Somalia

My name is Marian Mohamud Isak, and I am the Nursing Activity Manager for the Baidoa project in Somalia. I have been working with MSF since March 2019, marking my fifth year with the organization.

As we commemorate International Women's Day 2024, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage women to enhance their skills and abilities wherever they may be. There are no limits except those we place on ourselves. I understand the challenges that women face in our society, particularly in Somalia and Africa as a whole, but women need to invest in their personal growth to pursue leadership roles.


Marian Mohamud Isak, Nursing Activity Manager, Baidoa, Somalia Ensuring the health of a mother is crucial in raising healthy children. By prioritizing your own health and seeking proper healthcare, you are not only taking care of yourself but also setting a positive example for your children.
Marian Mohamud Isak, the Nursing Activity Manager for the Baidoa project in Somalia.

I believe that women are underrepresented in key positions and deserve the opportunity to showcase their capabilities. In the Baidoa project where I work, only two women are in prominent roles - myself as the Nursing Activity Manager (NAM) and the Medical Activity Manager (MAM). While other project locations in the country may not have women in managerial positions, MSF provides women with opportunities to excel, and it is up to us to demonstrate our competence.

As a nurse with MSF, I started as a daily worker in the maternity ward and have since advanced to the position of Nursing Activity Manager based on my dedication and hard work.

My daily responsibilities as NAM include participating in morning briefings at the hospital, joining doctors on ward rounds to plan patient care, coordinating medication distribution, and ensuring high-quality nursing care for patients throughout the day. The most fulfilling aspect of my work is witnessing patients recover and leave the hospital with smiles on their faces.

Despite the rewarding aspects of my job, there are also challenging days, such as when we cannot provide necessary care to patients due to limitations. Collaboration with other organizations is crucial to address gaps in healthcare provision and respond effectively to public health threats such as measles and cholera outbreaks, which can be prevented through vaccination campaigns. 

In general, women often prioritize caring for their families over their well-being, which can hinder them from seeking timely healthcare. They need to remember that self-care sets a positive example for their children. It is important to seek medical attention and vaccinations to prevent any health issues before they escalate. A healthy family starts with a healthy mother who takes care of herself. 

In the next five years, I hope to progress to a higher position and expand my expertise by working in different contexts. I am committed to making a positive impact through my work as a nurse and contributing to the health and well-being of communities in need.

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