As you know, if you have been receiving these reports for a while, Afghanistan has the highest rate of infant mortality in the world, with nearly 12% of babies born perishing before their first birthday. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is among the highest in the world. The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) believes that one of the best ways to improve the health of babies and mothers is through education, and AIL has developed several programs to help provide women with the information they need to have healthier pregnancies, births and children.
One of the first health workshops developed by AIL was the Reproductive Health workshop. This workshop covers topics such as problems that can occur during pregnancy, the process of delivering a child, pre and post-natal care, caring for an infant, breastfeeding, family planning, vaccination, nutrition for mothers and children, and more. During the first 6 months of 2013, AIL has held three Reproductive Health workshops for 100 women. Some of these women were teachers who said that, where appropriate, they plan to pass this information on to their students, furthering AIL’s message.
Participants in a recent Reproductive Health Workshops said:
"This workshop has helped me learn how to plan my family. Before this workshop I didn’t know anything about family planning and I was suffering. Now, I have learned a lot of things that I needed to know. I am happy that I can plan my family now. I wish that all women could attend these workshops.
I know women who don’t know much about this subject. I want all women and girls who would like to one day have a family to participate in these workshops. I would like to share everything that I learned in this workshop with all of the women around me to who need to know these things."
After years of offering Reproductive Health workshops to women, AIL decided to offer a more intensive workshop to pregnant women and their birth helpers. The Expectant Mother’s workshop covers pre and post-natal care, care of an infant, information about safe delivery, breastfeeding, nutrition, and more. At the end of each workshop, the mothers are given a layette set, which we’ve described in prior reports. During the two years that this program has been offered nearly all of the women have chosen to give birth in a hospital, as opposed to the traditional, but dangerous practice of giving birth at home. All of the participants of the program have survived childbirth, and there has been only one stillbirth. During the first six months of 2013, AIL has been able to offer this workshop six times to a total of 122 women.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be a dangerous time for a woman in Afghanistan, but AIL programs are proving that it doesn’t have to be that way. When Afghan women are educated about their health and options available to them, they will make healthier choices, which lead to healthier babies and families. Thank you for supporting AIL’s continuing efforts to make pregnancy, childbirth and infancy safer for Afghan women and babies!
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