During the recent International Congress of Midwives in Durban, South Africa, one of the key messages was midwives do so much more than deliver babies. Mozhgan Mohammadzai, of Afghanistan, is a prime example. Educated through the Jhpiego-supported national midwifery program, Mozhgan has helped deliver more than a 1,000 babies. Today, as a leader in the Afghan Midwives Association (AMA), the 23-year-old is focused on building the ranks of her profession and developing women leaders across her country.
From the time she took her first job as a midwife at ahospital in Herat, Afghanistan, Mozhgan took great pride in helpingwomen who previously gave birth without a skilled birth attendant at theirside. Living in a rented room near the Gulran District Hospital, the 2005graduate of the Health Science Institute of Herat spent two years filling avoid in a place where there were previously no female physicians or midwives.
“Working with women and saving mothers’ lives gave me a special feeling,which I never felt before, and made me more confident that I made the rightdecision to become a midwife,” says Mozhgan, AMA vice president.
After her two years in Gulran, she went to work for the AfghanMidwives Association (AMA) as a provincial representative, and joined the staffof the regional maternity hospital in Herat City as the head midwife. Since 2009, Mozhgan, whose familyincludes many women who are physicians and teachers, has worked as a programofficer with Jhpiego’s midwifery education program in Kabul. Convincingher relatives to allow her to move far from home was not easy—it remains culturallyunacceptable for a young woman to strike out on her own.
But she says it was worth the struggle: “I’m proud of myprofession and it feels good working for mothers and midwives through Jhpiegoand the AMA.”
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