Listen free for 30 days

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 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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 members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Speechless

A great depth of history on Somaliland and its conflict with Somalia whilst following the story of an incredible hero! What a life to have led. So many achievements and so many set backs. You’re left constantly rooting for Edna! I was addicted to this book. I usually only listen on journeys but I found myself giving up an hour at home to listen to it...and I never do that!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I adored this book

Couldn’t wait to hear the next chapter all the way through. Engaging, informative, heart wrenching, witty and inspirational.

I loved every word.