With support from generous donors like you and the Conservation, Food, and Health Foundation, Marie Stopes International Afghanistan (MSIA) trained ten Mullahs’ wives to serve as health education champions (HECs), empowering them to talk to other female members of their communities about family planning and reproductive health. Since the onset of the project, a total of 387 women have received reproductive health education directly and it is anticipated that many more have received information indirectly.
Since September, the newly trained HECs have and will continue to conduct educational sessions with small groups of 6 to 10 women. Each wife will host between 10 and 12 sessions so that by the end of this project they will have collectively reached 720 women.
All of the attendees at the sessions receive cards referring them to MSIA clinics for additional counseling and voluntary family planning services. Analysis of the referral log book revealed the training has made a positive impact on the number of new family planning users, resulting in an increase in family planning users in each province.
For instance, in Herat province, the project achieved an 8.6% increase in clients using MSIA services. A total of 220 women attended the health education sessions hosted by the wives. Of these attendees, 150 women visited MSIA clinics as new clients for family planning and maternal health services, such as prenatal and postnatal healthcare. According the referral log book, of the 150 clients successfully referred to MSIA, 137 received family planning services for the first time.
In Balk province, 167 women attended the reproductive health education sessions hosted by the Mullahs' wives. The clinic referral log book revealed that of the 167 women in Balkh who attended the sessions, 30 women visited the nearest MSIA clinic to receive family planning services.
As we anticipated, there has been an increased acceptance by Mullahs’ wives about the family planning needs of young women. By training these women to champion family planning and reproductive health, MSIA has also seen increased acceptance by mothers-in-law about the family planning needs of young women, especially their daughters-in-law. This will ultimately lead to increased access by young women to reproductive health services which will avert maternal deaths.
Please look out for more updates on the project’s progress as the reproductive health champions continue to host health education sessions in their communities, improving access to and use of life-saving reproductive health and family planning services. Thank you again for supporting this incredible work!