Afghanistan: Midwifery students in Bamyan

News and Press Release
Originally published

Midwifery students in their school in Bamyan defy tradition and embark on an ambitious career path of saving lives.

Conservative traditions in Afghanistan have restricted women's and girl's access to education, work, healthcare and other social activities across the country. Women and girls are often prevented from going to health centres or schools because of the lack of female health workers and teachers.

The consequences are severe. Annually, some 24,000 women die before, during, or just after childbirth because of the lack of healthcare; and the female illiteracy rate is one of the highest in the world at more than 85 per cent, according to UN agencies.

Now, the midwifery profession is starting to be considered both decent and lucrative for women, particularly in the rural areas. The number of midwifery schools in the country has increased from only six in 2002 to 31 by 2009, according to Pashtoon Azfar, director of the National Association of Midwives (NAM).

Photo: Eric Kanalstein (UNAMA).

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Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel: 079 000 6121; +39 083 124 6121