Ultimately the goal is to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates in Herat, by improving the quality of care to babies and mothers at Herat Maternity hospital
The maternity unit of Herat hospital is a 100 bed facility serving a patient population of nearly 2 million people. It is a major regional referral hospital serving patients from all of the surrounding rural areas as well as Herat city itself. Approximately 1,600 babies are delivered in the hospital in a typical month. Of these, about 10% will have birth complications and need to spend some time in the neonatal care unit.
The Maternity Hospital has recently moved into a new, modern building that is a vast improvement over its previous location, but the improvement in physical infrastructure does not in itself lead to improved health outcomes or enhanced quality of care. Afghanistan is a conservative Muslim country in which most women are unwilling to be treated by male healthcare providers. The number of skilled providers at the Herat Maternity Hospital is still not sufficient to ensure that all mothers and babies receive quality care and the Ministry of Public Health does not have sufficient resources to increase the number of staff.
This project addresses these identified needs by employing midwives at the hospital for three years. 24 midwives have been hired to train and work full-time. They are receiving on the job training, supportive supervision and capacity building to support their development. This project improves the level of service delivery at the hospital and also home deliveries in the surrounding area.
Stay tuned for more details in our next report!