Afghanistan Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 82 | 1 July - 30 September 2019
In this issue
Saving lives in rural Maidan Wardak P.1
Education: hope for a brighter future P.2
Food security and agriculture P.4
Mobile health teams helping women P.5
Saving lives in rural Maidan Wardak
Contribution from the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan
Farzana Hussaini still remembers what happened one winter day in Rashak, her remote home village, when a woman started feeling her delivery pains: “Since there was no midwife available in the village, neighbours put her on a bed and tried to carry her to the hospital. Due to the heavy snowfall, they couldn’t reach the hospital. When they carried her home – she was dead.” Farzana is now 21 years old and one of 24 midwifery students in Maidan Wardak who is expected to graduate in 2019. In Maidan Wardak, the maternal mortality rates may have been as much as four times the national average, as the province mainly consists of rural and remote districts. “When we started the midwifery education programme in 2004, we had to knock on doors to convince families to send their daughters to our school. Today we have 85 candidates competing for 24 positions,” explained Mirwais Haleem, Deputy Project Manager at the Maidan Wardak Regional Management Office.
Improvements have been made to the quality of the education by extending the programme from 18 months to 2 years, updating the curriculum and installing a well-equipped laboratory. Since 2004, the Swedish Committee (SCA) for Afghanistan has graduated 157 midwifes in Maidan Wardak. 70 more students will graduate in 2019, Farzana Hussaini being one of them. “When I finish my studies, I will go back to my home village to combat maternal mortality,” she said.
A total of 369 women die per 100,000 births in Afghanistan, compared to 4 women in Sweden. One contributing reason may be the lack of adequate healthcare and a severe shortage of trained female healthcare workers. In order to address this, SCA operates schools for midwives and nurses. Since 2004, 328 midwives have graduated from SCA’s schools. The majority work at SCA’s clinics, where there would otherwise not have any maternal care services.