Save Rural Afghan Women & Children With Healthcare

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Vetted

Dear Friends,

Today is #GivingTuesday! $500,000 in Matching funds are available for donations made to all Creating Hope International and Afghan Institute of Learning projects on GlobalGiving. 

50% match up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization while funds last. In addition, new recurring donations up to $100 USD per month per unique donor per organization will have their initial donation matched at 200% on #GivingTuesday. Hurry up and donate!..Read our report below.

AIL has a comprehensive reproductive health program which helps women with all related issues. The workshop program gives in depth information to women in two formats, reproductive health workshops that are five days long and expectant mother workshops which are 3 hours long. So far in 2016, there have been 9 RH workshops for 270 women and 7 EM workshops for 136 women (68 pregnant).

All women who visit a clinic or see a Community Health Worker are asked about reproductive health matters and given health education about this. The goal is to educate women to know about their bodies and what to expect in life especially during pregnancy and childbirth. Afghanistan continues to have a rate of maternal/infant mortality that is too high. Education is key to getting this number down.

Many women rely on the AIL clinics as their only source for quality health care and this is crucial during pregnancy. Here is a story from one clinic:"Ghandigul was referred to our clinic for her labor pains. The mother was so frustrated and was weeping. When we checked her personal case of illness and her vital signs, we figured out that she had lost many children as soon as she gave birth.

The examination showed that she was expected twin babies this time. She was dilating but she wanted to go home to the desert even in this condition.  The first baby’s position was vertex and the second one was in breech. We were able to resolve this and persuade the mother to give birth in the clinic.   The two children were born and both had 8 Apgar scores after giving them artificial respiration and oxygen.    The patient’s helper was very happy and told us that if the patient did not give birth today, she would have taken her to the desert with us. Who knows where and how she would have delivered her children? I am sure she would have lost her son again. The patient said that she could not believe that she was finally a mother.  I prescribed the patient medicine and after they got the prescription they went home". 

 Thank you for your support.

What happens when you set out with a mission and a goal and you find yourself at the end of a road with no outlet? This happens with projects. You know what you want to achieve but you hit an obstacle in the process and need to revamp your strategy.

 The problem? Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. Almost all Afghan women deliver their babies at home with traditional birth attendants (TBAs) who are not educated, lack knowledge about hygiene and other personal health issues and believe in myths and superstitions which perpetuate unhealthy choices and cost lives and suffering. In addition, there were very few trained Afghan female nurses, midwives or health educators. AIL’s ultimate goal was to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate.

What did AIL decide to do? Beginning in 1996 in the Pakistan refugee camps, AIL operated health clinics for women and gave all patients health education.  AIL began training the traditional TBAs.   AIL also started training female high school graduates as health educators. But this was not enough. AIL then  developed a two-year, post-secondary course to train Afghan female high school graduates as nurses, midwives and health educators so that Afghan women would have highly trained females to go to for pre natal and post natal care and delivery. The course was excellent and graduates were immediately hired by the best refugee clinics and hospitals and women began going to have their babies delivered by the midwives and listen to their advice.  When the Taliban were defeated and refugees began returning to Afghanistan, AIL continued training TBAs in villages, and AIL also opened another nurse/health educator/midwife course in Kabul.  Again it was very successful.

 The obstacles? As the Afghan government began to organize its various ministries, the health ministry first decided that no TBAs should be trained anymore because they were not educated, so AIL had to stop training TBAs.  Next, the health ministry set up requirements for courses training midwives which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for facilities.  AIL didn’t have the funds and had to close the course in Afghanistan.

What was AIL now going to do to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates?  Precluded from training TBAs and graduating highly qualified midwives, AIL decided to focus on educating the mothers directly by giving them the information on hygiene and nutrition that they needed and encouraging them to deliver at clinics or hospitals or with trained midwives.  This had to be handled carefully as this is a highly personal issue for Afghans.  AIL began offering a half day Expectant Mother class for expectant mothers and one care-giver (mother, sister or TBA)           for women who came to AIL-operated clinics.  Because AIL was trusted, AIL was able to hold two classes.  The information was highly useful and the participants were also given reasons for why they should deliver at a health facility or with a trained person.  Word spread about the usefulness of the classes and AIL now has a waiting list for the classes.  What is most important are the results.  Since 2010, over 1500 women have attended Expectant Mother classes.  There have been no maternal deaths and only one still born and presently all women who attend the classes report that they have delivered in a clinic, hospital or with a trained midwife.  In addition, class participants report that they have told many more women about what they learned in the class. Achieving the goal is an ongoing process, but what was learned here is that AIL did not give up on their mission. AIL overcame the barriers placed before them by stepping back and altering their format in a way that was successful and achievable within the constraints placed upon them.

Thank you for your continued support.

Dear Friends, 

TODAY ONLY September 21st-12:00pmET! 30% Matching funds available for donations made to AIL projects on GlobalGiving.org! All donations are final.

Donations up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization may be matched while funds availableThe money runs out fast- so donate now!

BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE

This project gets an additional  50% match as part of Safer World Fund so your donation could be matched 80% if funds last!

The SWF match is up to $1,500 per donor per project.

Complex I know! but bear with me.

If you miss the 30% bonus match your gift to $1,500 could still get the 50% if funds are available.

AIL has always had healthcare and health education at the core of its programming. Women need to know about their bodies and how to stay healthy most especially when pregnant and caring for newborns. AIL runs health education sessions for all those visiting the clinics as well as giving reproductive health workshops. So far in 2016, there have been 6 multi day reproductive health workshops for 180 women and 4  3 hour long expectant mother workshops for 38 pregnant women and 38 helpers. These women are the lucky ones as they are now equiped with the knowledge of what to expect and how to detect problems. Many will choose the safer option of an clinic birth rather than the risky home birth without trained attendants. Here is one story:

"When I gave birth to a weak and sick son, my mother in law didn’t let me to feed him with my breast milk. She believed that the first milk at the beginning is dirty and  you should throw them away! I did what they said. After three days that I got permission to feed my son with breast – milk, he refused to drink it. Therefore, he is being fed with cow's milk. He always had constipation and stomachache. As the safety system of his body was weak he was sick all the time." did not know why he is crying all the time. After participating in this workshop, I have known the benefit of breast milk. I never feed my baby cow's milk as I have learnt it can harm the stomach."

Thank you for your support. 

Dear Friends,

 AIL’s Health Program continues to treat and educate thousands of people each month. In the first six months of the year 119,280 patients were treated and 78,498 people received health education. Patients often travel great distances to reach an AIL clinic because they know they will get quality care and quality drugs. Patients come for first aid care, vaccinations, nutrition, reproductive health, diseases and illnesses. Every patient and any family members with them receive health education at each visit to give them the knowledge of how to prevent illness or injury and how to treat minor ailments. Some of the most popular health education topics are related to reproduction including breast feeding, nutrition, vaccines and newborn care. All health education helps pregnant women stay healthy.

AIL emphasizes the importance of vaccinations to patients attending with illness or injury or pregnant women. The clinics also have vaccinators going out to villages and vaccines are provided by the 30 Community Health Workers at 15 health posts. AIL participates in vaccination campaigns run by the government such as for polio. These vaccinations save lives especially those who are most vulnerable such as pregnant women and newborns. Afghanistan continues to have one of the world’s highest rates of maternal and infant mortality vaccines play a part in reducing these numbers.

"I am Sohaila and I have been working as a vaccinator for three years at Maladan. I do my best to improve my work. One of the important parts of my job is to make the people understand the value of vaccinating. One day I was talking  about the value  of vaccination  and I faced a woman who was from Ghore province bt now was living in Herat Province. She said, "I am 30 years old and it is about one year that I have come to Herat with my family. I know nothing about vaccination and I have not been vaccinated yet because I have not known about vaccination and what it is for. So tell me about it, if I need to be vaccinated ". So I welcomed her and I gave her complete information about vaccination and then I gave her a vaccination card  so she could get vaccines. I said it will absolutely decrease the rate of different maternal diseases. I am proud of being a vaccinator and that I am helping my people. When I work for my people I never become tired".

Thank you for your support.

Dear Friends, 

TODAY June 15TH -9:00am ET TO 11:59pm! 50% Matching funds available for donations made to AIL projects on GlobalGiving.org! Donations up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization may be matched while funds available. The money runs out fast- so donate now!

Are you a UK donor? GlobalGiving.co.uk has its own bonus day. Donations up to £1,000 per donor per organization may be matched 50% while funds last. Match starts 14:00:01 BST on June 15th and ends at 4:59:59 BST on June 16th.  

AIL update

This year AIL’s health program has provided 79,048 patients with health treatment and 50,433 patients have participated in some form of health education. AIL has four fixed clinics but also has a clinic at an orphanage and one at a Learning Center. A girl at the Herat orphanage had this to say, “By comparison, the orphanage was better for me.  When I got sick at home, my mother could not do anything for me, as we were very poor. AIL provided us all kinds of medicine and checked us every day.  Once I did not feel well, I had a headache and fever and I was worried. The doctor and the head of the orphanage came to visit me. I could not believe that they came just for me. I felt proud of myself and I felt that I have character and confidence and could explain how I felt. I thank God   and Dr. Yacoobi for not leaving me alone.”

AIL provides many avenues, other than at health clinics, for women and girls to get the sort of health information they need to stay healthy and look after themselves, especially their reproductive health. The AIL education program includes 43 Learning Centers (LCs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including 15 rural centers around Herat.  So far this year,13,888 students (including 9,044 females and 4,844 males) participated in Learning Center education. The students all learn about health as health information is given regularly and sometimes workshops are held.  AIL also conducts trainings during the year and 701 (341 female and 360 male) have been to trainings on various subjects including in depth health topics.

TODAY, your donation can go further!  Donate between 9:00am and 11:59pm and help AIL continue its valuable work providing education and healthcare to women and girls.

 

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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States
$93,513 raised of $98,000 goal
 
1,424 donations
$4,487 to go
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