Help Afghan Women Deliver Healthy Babies Safely

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Vetted

AIL runs a comprehensive Health Program that encompasses health treatment, health education and health training. The workshop program is very popular and in 2014 AIL provided 11 Reproductive Health Workshops for 390 women. These women learned about their bodies, pregnancy and birth, and newborn care. They are now much better equipped to care for themselves as they go through life.

AIL’s 3 hour Expectant Mother Workshop (EM) is another quick and easy way for these women to learn what they need to know. In 2014, AIL gave 15 EM Workshops for 380 women (190  pregnant) and remarkably all of the 137 births recorded so far were at clinics rather than a risky home birth situation. In the four years this program has been running only one recorded birth occurred at home out of 439 births. In addition to its focused workshops, AIL has provided thousands of women with reproductive health education through the AIL clinics and Community Health Workers posts.

One woman who gave birth at an AIL clinic and said, “I lost my two other babies while giving birth at home because my husband’s s family never trusted in clinics. Then last week an AIL Community Health Worker came to my house. She spoke with my husband and his  family about the dangers of delivery at home. Moreover, she explained the reason why my other two babies died. Fortunately, she was able to convince them to  let me go to the clinic for the birth. Now I am in the clinic with  my baby daughter who is alive and the doctor says she is fine. My husband is so happy and  he is so sorry for not letting me  come to clinic for last two births. He is now believing in AIL health services. I also thank AIL for saving my baby girl’s life. And I am going to tell this story to all my relatives and family in order to change their negative minds.”

 

Thank you for your interest in Afghan women’s health issues.

Health Education
Health Education

AIL runs a comprehensive Health Program that encompasses health treatment, health education and health training. Workshops that relate to pregnancy and childbirth are highly regarded and quickly fill up once posted. Women know that the country has an alarmingly high rate of maternal death and injury and infant mortality. Women want to do the right thing to be safe, once they know what that is. AIL has given two Reproductive Health Workshops for 80 women in the last 2 months with the total for the year now at 285 women trained.

AIL’s 3 hour Expectant Mother Workshop (EM) is another quick and easy way for these women to learn what they need to know. The topics covered include: antenatal and postnatal care, safe childbirth and infant care, child spacing and breast feeding as well as the importance of keeping in touch with clinics or Community Health Workers. The workshops are held in more remote areas where women have few options. The women are under the AIL clinic observation and report back with their newborn for 3 months following birth.

One participant said, "This is the first time that we attended such a workshop and this is the first organization that gives workshops like this for the pregnant women in our area. This shows AIL really cares and reaches out to all people. At the end of the workshop we received a nice new baby kit that contained a hat, pinafore, swaddling, band swaddling, shirt, sun suit, pads and diapers, panties and soap.” In 2014, AIL has given 13 EM Workshops for 340 women (170  pregnant) and remarkably all of the births recorded so far were at clinics rather than a risky home birth situation. In addition to its focused workshops, AIL has provided thousands of women with reproductive health education through the AIL clinics and Community Health Workers posts.

Thank you for your interest in Afghan women’s health issues. We have included Creating Hope International’s newsletter which contains information on AIL’s work. We hope that you will take a moment to read through it.


Attachments:

AIL staff continue with their in depth and effective workshop programs. Some of the most popular workshops are the Reproductive Health Workshops (RH) and the Expectant Mother Workshops (EM). Even well educated women find they do not know enough about their own reproductive system and the processes that occur in pregnancy and childbirth.

 Here is one participant’s comments: “My name is Anita and I strongly suggest that AIL hold such workshops for all Afghan women in order to decrease the rate of child and maternal death. I am a university student and the topics shocked me. It is so vital for every woman to attend such workshops and learn about reproductive health. I am going to transfer what I learned in this workshop to every Afghan women I see from now on. I am going to stop mothers’ deaths. I thank AIL.”

This sort of lack of knowledge can be dangerous for women. Too many women and babies die or are injured during childbirth in Afghanistan.

So far in 2014, 65 women have attended RH workshops and 100 attended EM workshops. In addition, tens of thousands of women have been given reproductive health education through the AIL clinics and Community Health Workers posts. This information is spread by the women to other members of their families, their friends and neighbors, so knowledge is spread and changes in attitude and behavior follow.

Thank you for your support for this vital work.

Stills from the Music Video
Stills from the Music Video

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.

 

My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hands.

             On April 5th, an historic election was held in Afghanistan. Over 7 million voters participated, and the elections were generally a peaceful affair. We at AIL hosted election workshops leading up to the vote, and asked the managers of our Learning Centers to educate students at the centers about why the vote was important, what steps they needed to take in order to vote, how to research and select candidates, and how to vote.

            The effort to encourage Afghans to vote was not limited to our workshops and Learning Centers however. At a private school owned by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (our CEO) the Arts and Culture Teacher, Mehrjui, set a poem she had written about the election to music. The song encourages all Afghans to become aware of their responsibilities, to select a good candidate for President and to vote. The PSYPS Arts and Culture students sang this song at a celebration on International Women’s Day as well as at our election workshops. The song was incredibly well received, moving many in the audience.

            The students, staff, and administration at the school quickly realized how powerful their song was, so with the help of the AIL Academic Advisor and the AIL video production team, they set about recording their song so that it could be shared with a wider audience. They had no idea how popular the song was about to become.

            The song quickly went viral, being aired on Afghanistan’s National TV station, as well as on eleven other stations. The song has been played many times over and candidates running for president even asked if they could buy the song to use in their campaign. The PSYPS students and staff declined to sell the song, deciding the purpose of the song was to encourage all Afghans to participate in the elections, not to support just one candidate.

             As Afghanistan moves closer to a runoff election this summer, the song continues to be played on the radio and the video over the airwaves. In short, the song continues to encourage Afghans to participate in the upcoming elections and to make sure their voices are heard.

             We encourage you to take a moment to view the video made by the students, to read the lyrics below and to see the hope in these young people’s faces. After watching, we hope that you will stand with the youth of Afghanistan, and join us as we work with them to create a peaceful future for their nation. 

(Chorus Song)

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.

 

With one vote, we can be our sultan, our voice

For a better choice for a better leader

 

My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hand

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

With the name of God, we speak from the power of our thoughts

From our decision, unity, humanity and right

No longer speak of suicide bombing, explosion, but of creativity and pride

Don’t speak of the hills under the thorn

Speak of the friendship of verdant soil and the rose garden

Speak of spring, spring and spring

 

(Narration)

Let’s hope that this spring Afghanistan will turn into a magnificent garden. A garden in which the smell of every rose invites the world for a spectacle.

Let’s hope for a different spring, for a different year and for a different Afghanistan

Don’t forget my fellow citizen, our rendezvous is in front of ballot boxes on April 5, 2014

 

(Chorus Song)

Our choice is the remedy

Our choice is for the day of rendezvous

Who we want will be crowned sultan

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

 

Attend the opportunity with passion and turn the enemies into wretches

This colored finger is the guiding path and this fist is the hummer for the oppressor

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

Links:

Reproductive Health Workshop
Reproductive Health Workshop

Afghanistan has an unacceptably high risk of maternal death and stillbirth. AIL has developed effective programs to address these issues, including workshops on reproductive health and general health education offerings. These opportunities to learn are always highly popular and the women go away knowing much more than they did before. In 2013, 12,687 women received reproductive health care at AIL clinics, 300 women (including 150 pregnant women) attended Expectant Mother Workshops and 832 attended Reproductive Health Workshops.   

The Expectant Mother Workshops show remarkable results in that 100% of women who attend them choose a clinic based birth rather than the cultural norm of home delivery. Women attend for a few hours one afternoon learning about safe pregnancy, safe delivery and newborn care. In 2013, there were no recorded deaths, stillbirths or complications for the attendees who had given birth.

AIL’s Health Workshops (RH)  provide information over a few days covering issues in more depth such as: vaccinations, fetus and placenta, pre delivery preparations, normal delivery, post partum bleeding, breast feeding, family planning, child spacing, condoms, specifications of newborns, pre natal and post natal care and problems during pregnancy. Each workshop is tailor made for the community it serves and additional subjects are added as needed such as sanitation, nutrition, and clean water. The majority of attendees are married women but there are also unmarried women, the age range is from late teens to 50 years old.  Mini workshops are also offered when needed and are a more condensed workshop experience specially suited to those with limited time available or issues of transport or childcare.

Here is a story form a RH workshop participant:

Fareshta on of the participants said, “Most of the people who live in our village are uneducated. They suffer many health problems. The women don’t know about  reproductive health and many of them lose their lives at the time of delivery. The mothers’ mortality level is very high  there.  One woman died at the time of birth because her family didn’t let any doctor check her. She and her baby both died. It is very painful for me when I think about them.”

We are most grateful for your interest in and your support of this project. Reaching women of child bearing age with accurate information about pregnancy and child birth is truly a life saving effort.

 

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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

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