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A Woman of Firsts

The Midwife Who Built a Hospital and Changed the World
Narrated by: Edna Adan Ismail
Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Summary

The astonishing story of a daughter, campaigner, First Lady and nurse.

Simply a Midwife is the inspirational story of a remarkable daughter, nurse and First Lady. The indomitable Edna Adan Ismail survived imprisonment, persecution and civil war to become a pioneering politician, a leading light in the World Health Organisation and a global campaigner for women’s rights.

The eldest child of an overworked doctor in the British Protectorate of Somaliland, Edna was the first midwife in Somaliland, campaigned tirelessly for better health care for women and fought for women on a global stage as the first female Foreign Minister of her country. 

But mixing with presidents and princes, she still never forgot her roots and continued to deliver children and train midwives - a role she has to this day.

At 81 years old, she still runs what is hailed as the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospital, where she trains future generations and still delivers babies.

After all - as she puts it - she is ‘simply a midwife’.

©2019 Edna Adan Ismail, Wendy Holden (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The Muslim Mother Teresa." (The Huffington Post

"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)

What listeners say about A Woman of Firsts

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fantastic

To hear Edna Adan Ismail read this book was outstanding and a pleasure to hear.

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Outstanding

What a fantastic book, every femal should read, be grateful for your life and others

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Captivating

What a treat to be able to listen to Edna tell her story. This is the most remarkable memoir you will ever read that will leave you both inspired and flabbergasted. Today I stumbled upon a quote that reminded me of this book ‘My idea of an interesting person is someone who is quite proud of their seemingly abnormal life and turns their disadvantage into a career.’ But more so than this, George Orwell’s quote outside the BBC really resonates with everything Edna stands for: ‘If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ Edna is the champion of liberty. Against all odds, she has achieved what most would have written off as impossible. What an incredible life!

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Wow

I have admired Edna Aden Ismail for a long time and waited for the publication of this book for quite sometime. I can honestly say it did not disappoint me at all! This is great story told by a fascinating person of her personal and professional life. It give you hope and and inspiration to achieve your dreams whilst maintaining your dignity and principles. May you be rewarded for all kindness you have shown your patients.

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Opens your eyes to the experiences of woman

An amazing story told in the first hand that really opens your eyes to the experiences and struggles of women in the developing world. Some hard to listen to parts but we'll worth listening to.

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Wow, what a woman

What an incredible woman. This is a real eye opener, I found it hard to take a break from it. Love that it's read by the author; her passion and struggle really come across. What she has achieved against all the odds is immense. Heartily recommend.

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A poignant reminder that we can change the world!

I found this book absolutely mesmerising - the historical truths, entwined alongside a passion for women’s rights and nursing make a truly wonderful story! As an educator I found the passage about FGM the most useful experience, it stopped me in my tracks and although I have heard many times about FGM it was not until Edna shared her experiences that I listened. I will be sharing it with my fellow educators as we do have a problem with FGM in the U.K. This book highlights the inequalities still faced today, I do hope there is some way I can support Edna’s hospital. My own father is a Paediatric Consultant and I do wonder if he would visit with me, perhaps my school could fundraise! He too instilled a deep empathy within me for others, therefore Edna’s story connected to my own. Thank you, Megan

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Wonderful

I must have had tears in my eyes the entire way through. New favourite book.

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Brilliant

I loved this book what an amazing story of warmth, love, happiness and tears - a book I couldn’t put down

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What an inspiring read!

Just amazing / for one person to have changed so many lives - if I could do for the world a fraction of what she has.... I could indeed rest in peace.