Recently, AIL was asked by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs to report on the impact AIL’s programs have had. We were amazed by our findings. Since beginning in 1996 through May 2009, 220,970 Afghans have been educated and received skills training in AIL schools, centers and post-secondary programs. 27, 619 Afghans (more than 70% female) have received teacher training or capacity-building training. AIL has supported 13 clinics serving 998,088 patients and providing health education to 1,520,374 women and children. Overall 6,778,026 Afghan lives have been directly impacted by AIL programs.
During 2008 AIL’s four clinics treated a total of 147,889 patients and provided health education to 84,614 Afghans. In addition, the Community Health Worker program in Herat reached out to 76,345 families.
In June 2009, AIL opened a new clinic to treat patients in Kabul Province. During the first 6 months of 2009, these five clinics have treated 97,816 patients (an increase of 34,470 patients from this time last year) and have provided health education to 45,406 Afghans. The Community Health Worker program has reached out to 33,906 families so far this year.
In addition to AIL’s usual health activities AIL is holding a nine month training in health for 215 teachers from Herat area schools. After being trained, the teachers are returning to their schools to teach students about health and train other teachers in their school to teach health to their students. Topics for the workshops include basic health care, personal sanitation, infectious diseases, first aid, how to tell when a student is sick and many others. Here is what a few of the teachers had to say about the new School Health Program after their first workshop:
“The workshop was excellent because I learned about many personal and social issues and I can convey this information to my students. The trainers implemented student-centered methods and they let all of the participants take part in the discussions. They were kind and respected all of the ideas they heard. The atmosphere in the workshop was so friendly that everyone felt comfortable and could learn easily. The most interesting subject for me was health education and private sanitation. The day after learning about these things I went back to my school and taught all of my students to have their own hanky, soap and glass for water. I also taught them that they must not use things from others to prevent the spread of infectious disease.”
“The teaching methods were excellent and we received a lot of information about school health. The trainer’s behavior was so kind, and the most interesting subject for me was infectious disease. I learned to prevent the spread of infectious disease, which I think is very important for school teachers. I am so happy to have had the chance to attend this workshop. I can teach all of these topics to my students to increase their awareness.”
“I thought all of these subjects were interesting and useful because they have a direct effect on our daily life. Every day we face these issues in the school, and outside them too. The problems that students in my school are facing are diarrhea, typhoid, dysentery and eye problems. The day that we studied cholera and diarrhea in the workshop, I involved myself in the discussion. The trainers told me to make sure that I help students with diarrhea is by making sure they are getting liquids, use medicine and pay attention to personal and environmental sanitation. I did as our trainers said, and it helped my students. It was a very useful workshop. I hope all the issues which we studied can be implemented in all schools and help us to have healthier students. Being healthy will help them to learn their lessons better because as our trainers said, a sound mind is in a sound body.”
AIL has recently held several health education workshops and we’d like to share some comments made by participants after the workshops.
“From this workshop I have learned many new things and plan to implement them in my life. I have learned that it is important for a mother to try and prevent herself from getting sick since prevention is better than curing a sickness. I plan to implement the preventions I’ve learned in my life and teach it to my children.”
“I did not vaccinate my child because I did not think it was important, but now I will do it as soon as I leave the workshop. Now I understand how important it is for my child’s health.”
In 2008 AIL provided health services to 156,966 women through its fixed and mobile, rural health clinics in Herat and Kabul provinces and through Community Health Worker outposts. In conjunction with health care service,112,674 women received health education. AIL believes in providing education at every opportunity as this is the way to help people improve their health and welfare.
In the past in Afghanistan, women did not come to clinics for assistance because they did not find that they helped. Over the last seven years, a great deal of trust has been built between the AIL clinic staff and the villagers in the rural areas that they serve. The result is that villagers are now coming to the clinic for delivery of their babies, a rarity in the past. Following is a story from one of the AIL clinics in Herat which shows the positive results that come from having a clinic that is used by people in the area that they live. In the past, this baby probably would have died.
A clinic midwife said: "Parimah came to the clinic for delivery at 11 am. She gave birth but the baby was not breathing. We quickly suctioned the baby's nose and mouth kept him warm. We started 40 breath/second and we saw movement of his chest; after two minutes of assistance, his chest moved and he gave a weak cry. The baby was cyanotic so we gave him oxygen. After the resuscitation, the baby got better and his breathing was good and he was able to nurse. We referred him to the vaccine room and educated his mother about breast feeding, post natal care and how to take care of her newborn."
With the support of all of you that have donated to this project, this baby's life was saved!
Following is a story as reported by a female nurse at one of AIL’s clinics about a woman that came to the clinic for treatment after being injured while working with her husband on their house.
One day in early July a woman was brought to the clinic by her husband and her mother. The woman said “My husband was building rooms on our house this morning, and I was helping when suddenly a brick dropped on my head, and my head was broken. My mother put black tea on the wound area to stop the bleeding, but the bleeding did not stop. My husband brought me to the clinic.”
A female nurse dressed the injured area with anti-septic liquid and then sent the woman to the OPD room for examination and advised her to come to the clinic to have her dressings changed every other day. The OPD doctors asked her about her mental condition (did she have vomiting or vertigo), and she had no problems. She was in good condition, and was then discharged from the clinic. The woman and her family thanked AIL and the health staff.
Creating Hope International’s partner, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), has 3 rural health clinics—Imam Shish Nur and Jagartan Clinics in Herat Province and Mir Bacha Kot Clinic in Kabul Province. From January through June 2008, AIL’s three clinics:
- treated 63,345 total patients
- treated 9,347 reproductive health patients
- vaccinated 17,977 women and children
- gave health education lessons to 31,563 women and children
- treated 182 children for malnutrition
- held reproductive health and women’s health workshops for 697 women
Nearly all of the patients treated at AIL’s 3 rural clinics are women and children. In the first 6 months of 2008, the rural clinics treated 12,258 more patients than in the same time period during 2007.
The Community Health Worker (CHW) program in the Herat clinics continues to be a great in building the “health capacity” of the rural communities where the CHWs work. In the first six months of 2008, CHWs visited 39,781 families and provided health services to 18,791 patients. During each visit, CHWs also give health education information to the families. Since the Afghan government recently said that no fees could be charged at clinics resulting in many more patients, most of whom are not ill, coming to the clinics, the CHW program will continue to be helpful in alleviating the patient load at the clinics.
Following is a story demonstrating the dedication of the clinic staff and the benefit the clinic’s services are bringing to those who live in rural areas:
Pharmacist of Iman Shish Nur Clinic in Herat said: “The 12th of January was a cold and snowy day; with a lot of problems when we arrived at the clinic. When the people who had been to the clinic before saw us, they were happy. They said ‘we didn’t think that you come to the clinic.’ That day we visited more than 50 patients. It was very helpful for the people because this clinic is their only hope.”
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