Reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Afghanistan
In today’s Afghanistan, women still face different challenges that prevent them from receiving adequate pre/post-natal health care, general insecurity being one of them. Most of the population also lives away from health facilities: in 2008, about 60% of the Afghan population lived at least two hours (by foot) away from a health care centre. Furthermore, because of cultural reasons, women cannot undergo consultations with male medical personnel. This is particularly problematic since female health providers are not available in every health facility. As a result, maternal and neonatal mortality are still widespread: the neonatal mortality rate is of 35 deaths for 1.000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate is 396/100.000.
To improve this alarming situation, in 2018 AfD collaborated with the Haute École de Santé of Geneva to train 21 midwives from the Takhar Province of Northern Afghanistan, whom in turn trained 128 additional midwives coming from different health facilities, in order for them to receive and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to improving the quality of care provided to pregnant women and young mothers. In total, 149 midwives benefited from the training last year. As a result of this training, not only mothers and newborns living in remote areas of the country were able to receive a better quality of care, but also the community was made aware of the importance of medical care for women and children.
In addition to the midwifery training, AfD was able to provide medical supplies for a particularly deprived health facility in Panjshir, located in the northeastern part of the country. As a result, this medical facility was able to provide standard basic healthcare to about 50.000 people.