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Edna Adan Ismail

Edna Adan Ismail, midwife and campaigner, is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

Edna Adan Ismail is a midwife and campaigner. As a 12 year old growing up in British Somaliland, her dream was to build her own hospital. It took her some 50 years and all her savings to realise her ambition, and the state of the art hospital she built is a testament to her passion and dogged determination.

Nursing and midwifery have been her life since she won a scholarship to study in the UK in the mid-1950s, when she cycled to appointments in her black raincoat to deliver babies all around London. Married at one time to the prime minister of Somalia, she juggled the high profile role of First Lady with shifts at her local hospital. "I was born with this desire to fix things," she says.

As her country's first female foreign minister, she broke deep-rooted taboos by publicly condemning the widespread practice of female genital mutilation - FGM. Her opposition stems from personal experience - she was only eight years old when she endured the invasive procedure herself.

Now 80, she lives on site at her beloved hospital, where more than 22,000 babies have been born since it opened in 2002.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Paula McGinley.

Available now

36 minutes

Last on

Fri 27 Oct 2017 09:00

Music Played

  • Pharrell Williams


    • Girl.
    • Columbia.
    • 5.
  • Cabdi Nuur Alaale

    Heetsa Maxay Dantu Ciishay Wiiloo

  • Édith Piaf

    Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

    • The Continental Collection.
    • EMI.
    • 18.
  • Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

  • Frank Sinatra

    My Way

    • My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra.
    • Warner Music UK.
    • 1.
  • Ella Fitzgerald

    These Foolish Things

    • Mack the Knife.
    • Universal.
    • 10.

    • Whitney Houston

      I Will Always Love You

      • Love, Whitney.
      • Sony.
      • 16.
  • Harry Belafonte

    Island In The Sun

    • Harry Belafonte: The Ultimate Collection.
    • Sony Music UK.
    • 1.

    Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof


    Vegetable seeds


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Edna Adan Ismail
Producer Paula McGinley


  • Sun 22 Oct 2017 11:15
  • Fri 27 Oct 2017 09:00

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