A Woman of Firsts is the inspirational story of a remarkable daughter, nurse, and First Lady, Edna Adan Ismail

Imprisonment. Mutilation. Persecution

‘The Muslim Mother Teresa’ Huffington Post

Edna Adan Ismail endured it all – for the women of Africa.

A Woman Of Firsts - The Midwife Who Built A Hospital And Changed The World [wp-svg-icons icon=”book” wrap=”i”] Read A Sample 

Edna saw first-hand how poor healthcare, lack of education and ancient superstitions had devastating effects on Somaliland’s people, especially its women. When she suffered the trauma of FGM herself as a young girl at the bidding of her mother, Edna’s determination was set.

The first midwife to practice in Somaliland, Edna became a formidable teacher and campaigner for women’s health. As her country was swept up in its bloody fight for independence, Edna rose to become its First Lady and first female cabinet minister.


She built her own hospital, brick by brick, training future generations in what has been hailed as one of the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospitals

This is Edna’s truly remarkable story.


  • ‘The remarkable story of an extraordinary woman. Her struggles, lessons, and triumphs are an inspiration’ – Kirsty Young, Desert Island Discs
  • ‘The Muslim Mother Teresa’–The Huffington Post
  • ‘An extraordinary story from an incredible woman. Edna has devoted her life to helping others throughout the world, and her moving story is an inspiration.’ Dr. Amanda Brown, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Prison Doctor
  • ‘As tough as General Petraeus, as compassionate as the Pope, as tireless as Michael Phelps, as beautiful as Tina Turner, and with a work ethic to rival Bill Gates.’–Kirsty Young, Desert Island Discs

About the author

A Woman Of Firsts - The Midwife Who Built A Hospital And Changed The World Edna Adan Ismail was Foreign Minister of Somaliland from 2003 to 2006 and had previously served as Somaliland’s Minister of Family Welfare and Social Development. She is the director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa and an activist and pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of female genital mutilation. She is also President of the Organization for Victims of Torture. She was married to Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal who was Head of Government in British Somaliland five days prior to Somalia’s independence and later the Prime Minister of Somalia (1967–69) and President of Somaliland.

DETAILS & SPECS (Hardcover format)

Title: A Woman Of Firsts

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 280 pages

On Sale: 2019-08-08


Language: English




eBook format

  • ISBN: 9780008305369
  • Imprint: HQ
  • On Sale: 2019-08-08
  • Format: eBook
  • Trimsize: 0x0mm
  • BIC1 B00M00000
  • BIC2 V00F0XB00

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