Mozghan Mohammadzai, AMA Vice President
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 a
hospital in Herat, Afghanistan, Mozhgan took great pride in helping
women who previously gave birth without a skilled birth attendant at their
side. Living in a rented room near the Gulran District Hospital, the 2005
graduate of the Health Science Institute of Herat spent two years filling a
void 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 right
decision to become a midwife,” says Mozhgan, AMA vice president.
After her two years in Gulran, she went to work for the Afghan
Midwives Association (AMA) as a provincial representative, and joined the staff
of the regional maternity hospital in Herat City as the head midwife. Since 2009, Mozhgan, whose family
includes many women who are physicians and teachers, has worked as a program
officer with Jhpiego’s midwifery education program in Kabul. Convincing
her relatives to allow her to move far from home was not easy—it remains culturally
unacceptable for a young woman to strike out on her own.
But she says it was worth the struggle: “I’m proud of my
profession and it feels good working for mothers and midwives through Jhpiego
and the AMA.”