Afghanistan continues to have one of the world's highest infant and maternal mortality rates. Through its three rural health clinics in Herat and Kabul, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) provides family planning, ante and post natal care and safe delivery environments for women. In 2008, AIL provided reproductive health care services to 19,425 women. Furthermore, 59,229 women received education about health topics which included reproductive matters. Community Health Workers, serving villages near to the two Herat clinics, also provide reproductive health services including family planning advice to 53,443 women annually. In Afghanistan, this kind of information is only given when requested. Following is a story from one of the clinics, which illustrates how AIL clinic staff is helping women villagers on a day to day basis: : A midwife said: "Bigum was a returnee patient of the clinic. She came to the clinic for post natal care. After a month she asked about family planning methods. I gave her information and suggested Lynstrolol tablets because it doesn't decrease breast feeding. But she told me she has forgotten to take pills in the past. I suggested injections but she didn't like that so I explained about the IUD which she decided on. After a vaginal examination, I inserted an IUD and gave her health education to take care of it. After 15 days she came to the clinic for a follow up and she was happy with it. She told me that she has told other women about the advantages of the IUD." For the long term, AIL is also training nurse/midwife/health educators through its intensive course in Kabul. This course has been extended in length to 18 months and has between 45 and 65 students at any one time. In the last two years, two classes of nurse/midwife/health educators have graduated and graduates are now working in clinics and hospitals in Kabul Province. Following is a story clinic staff about Jamila, a graduate of the AIL nurse/midwife/health educator course, who is now working: "During Ramadan the staff left early, and only Jamila was left in the clinic. A woman came to the clinic, and she had a breach presentation delivery. Jamila performed the delivery perfectly. The personnel of the clinic were very happy with Jamila and impressed that when she was alone she could handle the case and they were happy and thankful for Jamila and for AIL, which trains and graduates such students." Thanks to all of you who, through your donations to this project, are helping to educate and reduce the maternal mortality rate of Afghan women!!
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