Covid-19 created significant challenge for all our healthcare staff in 2020. The fixed clinics continued with all aspects of patient care with strict sanitation and social distancing, referring the Covid cases to the government hospital. The 14 health posts in villages cared for people in their community.
In the year, there were 231,000 patients and 172,000 health education participants. Over 26,000 children were assessed for nutritional status and 1,944 treated for malnutrition.
"There are many people who have no access to a health clinic, so their children suffer malnutrition because of ignorance. AIL Community Health Worker posts find such children in the villages and refer them to the clinic. The children receive food and nutrition health messages till they get fine. We give them consultations on how to serve healthy food as well." (Nutrition Section staff member)
It is vital that children have good nutrition throughout their lives only then can they thrive, focus on education and be productive.When women know how to take care of their health, are healthy and have children who are well nourished, those women are more productive in their family unit and community. They are more likely to prioritize education of their daughters ensuring they go to school and take additional classes at AIL centers if they need it.
Girls' empowerment, education and health are all connected!
AIL has risen to the challenge of Covid-19 and kept its programs running during the pandemic. Education was provided online and through education packs delivered to students.
Dr. Yacoobi said, “ I am so proud of my staff who have kept AIL running through the pandemic with adapted programs AND produced PPE for ministries and hospitals- 14,000 face shields, 13,000 masks, 400 other items AND opened a 50 bed Covid-19 hospital AND provided food aid and counseling AND provided virus information through Radio Meraj !”
We are glad to say that centers and schools are now open under strict social distancing and sanitation rules. Students are delighted to be back especially the children who missed their friends, teachers and the structure of classroom life.
In August, one of our Herat centers reported these activities: made 400 masks and 13 sets of PPE clothing, map of Afghanistan sewn onto a carpet, prepared Covid-19 awareness clips, planted plants for inside the center and the carpet weaving class completed projects and started new ones.
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Covid-19 has created a great many difficulties in Afghanistan, especially because it is a poor country and has fragile health and education systems. AIL has had to close its Learning Centers but staff worked hard to adapt its education program to online, distance learning. Students have been provided with education packs and have access to a teacher by email, a hotline and in person if necessary.
It is vital that students continue their learning and do not lose heart. “It takes time and patience to gain acceptance for girls’ education, especially in rural areas. I am concerned that we do not lose the ground we have gained,” says Dr. Yacoobi.
Quarantine has increased the sense of isolation that many women feel and is pushing girls into more household chores and we fear families will not look to return their girls to class and there will be a consequential rise in child marriage. The stress of the health and economic situation is causing a rise in family disputes and violence against women. The education packs give girls a focus and a hope that they will return to school or an AIL center for classes in the near future.
AIL has been able to repurpose its tailoring classrooms at many sites, to the production of personal protective equipment. Teachers and tailoring course graduates are producing gowns and masks while other staff are joining in and helping to make face shields. These items are being used in AIL health clinics and being donated to the government for use in other cities.
Your support is vital in helping us maintain our distance learning program.
AIL is working towards: SDG Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
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