Among the millions of Somalis affected by the recent floods, Saciido Ali Abdirahman is a 24-year-old, poor, and internally displaced mother of three. Saciido’s story underscores the pressing need for women and girls to access reproductive health care, especially in the midst of crises. Her journey vividly illustrates the vulnerability faced by women and girls in displaced populations and emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive reproductive health services, including vital elements such as birth spacing services for family planning.
Married at 18 in the flood-prone Mooro Fuur IDP camp, Xudur, Bakool region, South-Western Somalia, Saciido was later displaced to the safer grounds of Kormari IDP camp, shielded from perennial floods and inter-communal skirmishes. Since 2015, Kormari became her sanctuary, and through the efforts of a local UNFPA partner, SAMA, Saciido gained access to specialized reproductive health services.
For the past two years, Saciido has been receiving high-quality and specialized reproductive health services, including family planning drugs and counseling. Due to the fragile condition of her and her family’s health, they were also recipients of integrated health and nutrition services, outpatient consultations, provision of drugs, and routine health screening from other humanitarian actors. However, during an interview with one of our service providers, Saciido shared the significant impact of birth spacing services, emphasizing their importance among all the crucial health services she has received.
“I have been receiving family planning pills and counseling from UNFPA and SAMA,” Saciido shared, emphasizing the impact of birth spacing. “If I hadn’t used birth spacing, by now I would have been pregnant with my fourth child,” she added gratefully.
Saciido expressed her appreciation, acknowledging, “If I were residing in Mooro Fuur IDP camp, I wouldn’t have had access to these high-quality services.” She went on to share her previous experience, saying, “I used to purchase family planning pills from the market, but I had doubts about their quality and source. The floods and community conflicts have worsened our financial condition; it was very challenging for me to afford the medication.” Saciido then highlighted the positive change, “Now, thanks to UNFPA, I can access the family planning drugs at no cost. This has been a great relief for women who are displaced to these camps.”
UNFPA prioritizes that women and girls have access to reproductive health care, particularly during crises, as highlighted in Saciido’s narrative. Its implementation partners work to provide accessible services as well as raise community awareness through mobile teams. This dual approach to accessibility and awareness fosters a sustainable impact on the health of women and girls in the communities.
In a powerful pledge, Saciido aspires to become a family planning and birth spacing champion in her community, educating and inspiring younger women about the importance of family planning and the need for birth spacing services. Through Saciido’s narrative, the impact of UNFPA’s commitment to ensuring safe birth, maternity care, and comprehensive reproductive health services for Somali women and mothers becomes vividly evident, illuminating pathways to a resilient and empowered future.
Saciido’s story echoes the broader mission of UNFPA, not just as a provider of services but as an advocate for comprehensive reproductive health and rights. The organization’s interventions go beyond immediate relief, fostering resilience and empowerment among communities facing the dual challenges of displacement and climate crises.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA Somalia.