Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saving women's lives in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world (only Sierra Leone's is worse). In a culture where women grow up without proper nutrition, are married off and begin childbearing too young, are denied education and basic human rights - things start bad and then just get worse.

Pashtoon Azfar is working to change that; she's the president of the Afghan Midwives Association and she's been pushing education in not only technical skills but interpersonal skills. This is crucial as women who aren't accustomed to using medical personnel for births aren't going to trust someone who's, well, not nice.

“Does she greet the mother properly?” she asked. “Offer her a chair? A drink of water? Introduce herself? Let the mother ask questions? They are trained. They have to do it.”

Such simple steps that so many maternity care providers could use! It's not just about technical skills - it's also about trust. Read more here.

"These midwives, they are champions. Oh, I love them. They are my heart."

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