The Afghan Institute of Learning is very excited to have been given the opportunity to blog at Huffington Post! Our first blog about the Women’s Networking Movement taking place in some of AIL’s centers has been posted. The Women’s Networking Movement is taking place in about 30 of AIL’s centers, schools and clinics. The women coming to these centers are sharing thoughts and ideas in ways that have not been possible until recently.
To learn more about the Women’s Networking Movement, check out our blog at Huffington Post!
Creating Hope International, AIL’s partner, has set up a Facebook page where we will be sharing more news, pictures and information about AIL’s programs. Make sure that you ‘Like’ Creating Hope International on Facebook to get all the latest news!
We are very grateful for the support we have received for our health project. There are signs that overall access to healthcare is improving in Afghanistan but there is still a long way to go. There are too many communities and people who have little access to quality healthcare. This can be tragic on the personal scale with illness going from treatable to critical before care is sought and often too late to be effective. The drain on society of cyclical ill health is immense. People cannot be productive when they are dragged down by illness and mental wellbeing suffers as well leading to hopelessness.
AIL’s health program continues to be critical in the areas where there are clinics or Community Health Worker (CHW) posts supported by AIL. Since the last update in August 2012, AIL has treated at its clinics over 55,000 patients and given health education at clinics to over 44,000. The CHW program visited over 15,000 families.
Here is a story of one woman’s experience of using an AIL clinic:
My name is Zewar and I am 40 years old. I am illiterate. I have been coming to the clinic for 3 years. The clinic is about 150m from my house so I am able to walk here. There are 8 people living in my house, my husband myself and our 6 children. My father also attends this clinic. There used to be no clinic in our area so I was very happy when I was able to come to this AIL clinic. It has helped me resolve many health problems.
I expected the services to be limited, so I was surprised when I first visited that there were many sections to the clinic including pharmacy, OPD, vaccination, Malnutrition, health education and family planning. I heard that the clinic was free and was set up by an Afghan woman. I first came to the clinic because I have asthma. I have made friends through visiting the clinic so it has been a social experience and have received health education as well as treatment. The staff answers all my questions.
The clinic means a lot to me because I take care of my family, my children and follow the family planning and vaccination plans. I have taught my family about hygiene and that we must wash food, do cleaning and other household care because I was taught this at the clinic. I now wash vegetables with salt and we know about water sanitation and about taking care of our health. The clinic deals with all our health care needs and we go as soon as we are ill and we recommend the clinic to friends. The clinic follows Ministry of Public Health standards and has qualified doctors, good quality medicines and standard policies (BPHS).The one thing I would say is that we need more medicine for patients as people come from other districts too and want the quality medicine this clinic has.
The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons. As you celebrate with those you love, please take a moment to look at CHI’s yearly newsletter, which we’ve attached to this report. As you will see, 2012 has been a transformative year for AIL and CHI. After years of working tirelessly to provide education, training and healthcare to Afghans, we are beginning to see a real change. The minds of those AIL works with are being opened to the possibility of a peaceful Afghan society.
AIL is in the process of finalizing a 5 year funding plan, which will be put into place beginning in 2013. We are looking forward to sharing the details of this plan with you soon, and hope that you will find it in your heart to give generously to help us reach our goal. The people of Afghanistan are making great strides, but our work is not done yet. Instead of backing down, we need to push ahead and continue to give Afghans the tools they need to create a more peaceful country. We are hoping that we can count on you to help continue our work.
The women are beginning to see that through education they can have a better life, and are insisting on educating their children. They are taking charge of their health, and we are seeing more and more women requesting workshops on pre-natal issues as well as reproductive health. AIL is encouraged to see so many Afghan women looking forward to a brighter future and is planning to be there to help the women lead the way to the Afghanistan of their dreams.
Thank you for your support of AIL’s project. While the situation in Afghanistan continues to prove challenging, with your help AIL is finding ways to continue bringing high quality health care to the women and children of Afghanistan.
Through August 2012, 101,597 patients have been treated in AIL’s clinics, the majority of whom are women and children. At these same clinics, 89,678 Afghans received health education through information at the clinics, workshops and information from Community Health Workers.
On of the reasons for AIL’s success is the way in which it respects Afghan culture, and works with the villages it serves to meet the needs of the community. One recent example of this cooperation can be seen in the following story from the head of one of AIL’s clinics: I went to the village to offer vaccinations. First, I went to the Imam of a great Mosque to ask if he would announce that I was here to provide vaccinations to women and children. The Imam told the Mosque that all of the women and children should come to be vaccinated, and many people did come to be vaccinated. This showed me that the religious people and the community would help the clinic as they could. We also distributed posters about our clinic and the lead vaccinator was able to offer some health education while we were in the village.
We would also like to share the words of a woman who attended one of AIL’s reproductive health workshops. First, I want to thank the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Professor Sakena Yacoobi for her struggle to provide education despite the challenges of this society. AIL is very good at persuading people to attend programs like the one I attended today on reproductive health. It is only by learning about health issues that we will be able to keep ourselves healthy and have a life without health problems. Furthermore, these trainings help the development of women. By doing these workshops, the institute is able meet it’s other responsibility, helping women. I wish them success in the future, and as an Afghan girl am thankful for them.
Don’t forget! The holidays are a great time to share your passion for AIL and the great work that they do! GlobalGiving offers gift certificates which can be used to donate to AIL’s projects. Also, beginning December 1st, the initial donation made by recurring donors will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. There is only $25,000 available in matching funds, so help AIL take advantage of this opportunity early!
AIL’s clinics are often rural Afghan women’s only option for healthcare. A doctor in one of AIL’s clinics reports, “After coming into the clinic I began speaking with the patients waiting and noticed one woman who was sick with a different illness than the rest. I asked her what was wrong, and after a detailed explanation I examined her carefully and sent her to the laboratory for tests. After the tests, she came back to my office where I was able to recheck her. During the recheck I spoke with the woman about her living conditions, and she told me that she was very poor and couldn’t afford to go into the city. She always brings her family to our clinic for help, and is so thankful that she has access to good doctors and services.”
This doctor also reported that the clinic’s nutrition program is having a positive impact on the village. The clinic has trained some villagers on how to properly cook vegetables. This woman was one of those who received this training. She said that she is now able to cook many more nutritious foods for her family, and feels that this clinic ‘is the best clinic to help in our society.’
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