Maternal Health in Afghanistan

by World Vision
Jun 1, 2012

Project Update - June 2012

Midwives Eclampsia Training
Midwives Eclampsia Training

Thank you for your gift to support critical healthcare for mothers and newborns in the Herat region of Afghanistan. As conservative Muslims, many Afghan women are not permitted or refuse to be attended by male healthcare professionals during delivery. This, coupled with the lack of female healthcare providers, results in only 14 percent of births in the country being attended by a skilled health professional.

Consequently, Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates and the second highest under-5 mortality rate in the world according to UNICEF (2009 and 2010). Due to the scarcity of prenatal and postnatal care as well as unattended births, one-in-five children does not reach his or her fifth birthday. Furthermore, women stand a one-in-eleven lifetime risk of dying due to pregnancy-related causes.

The Midwifery Extension Project at Herat Maternity Hospital is helping to save the lives of mothers and newborns by providing skilled midwives to safely deliver babies and care for newborns. Because of generous donors like you, midwives were able to help deliver 20,450 babies at Herat Maternity Hospital during fiscal year 2011 (October 2010 through September 2011).



June 2012 Update - Covering activities from October 2011-March 2012

24 qualified female midwives delivered quality midwifery services through their direct employment at Herat Hospital - All 24 female midwives are in full time employment at the Herat Hospital. During the January 2012 joint supportive supervision session conducted by the World Vision midwifery education program, midwives working at the hospital achieved 34 out of a potential 36 standards.

Herat Maternity Hospital provided with essential supplies and equipment to ensure a high quality of patient care - This project has provided essential medical supplies such as gloves, protective goggles, masks, and containers for sharps, povidone iodine, antiseptic solutions, portable lights, delivery kits, trolleys, fetoscope, newborn kits, clothes and aprons on a quarterly basis to improve the quality of services and facilitation of care and reduce the risk of infections.

Delivery of home-based visitation services (post natal care within three days after delivery) - During this period of reporting, midwives conducted 115 home services visits for women who had complicated deliveries within two weeks of delivery who live within at least a 30 kilometer radius of Herat city.

Improved employment opportunities for 24 qualified midwives in Herat - During this reporting period, World Vision Afghanistan midwives attend the training:

  • Provide facilitation for three midwives to attend Helping Baby Breathing (HBB) training..
  • Provide facilitation for all World Vision Afghanistan midwives to attend Eclampsia training for 4 days. 

Capacity of midwives built - To improve the midwives’ knowledge and capacity, scientific conferences are held for midwives at the hospital every week. The midwives have learned more about shock, newborn care, and vacuum delivery.




A midwife during the Health Education Session
A midwife during the Health Education Session

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Organization Information

World Vision

Location: Federal Way, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Rachel Wolff
Senior director, World Vision news burea
Federal Way, WA United States

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