Afghanistan: midwives – the givers of life
This World Day of the Midwife, Terre des hommes (Tdh) pays tribute to these women who do a remarkable job. In Afghanistan, natural disasters, long-term conflicts and growing insecurity have led thousands of people into forced displacement. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reckons that there are 630,000 internally displaced people in Afghanistan, of whom over 124,000 were newly displaced in 2013. In such a context, the health of expectant mothers and women with small children is a great challenge: the difficulty of their accessing health treatment increases the death rate of pregnant women and newborn babies.
And so, Tdh, backed by Swiss Solidarity, has developed a huge project to give support to expectant women and mothers with new-born babies in the refugee camps and in the poorest communities of Kabul and Kandahar. The midwives, trained by Tdh, make home visits: in 2013, more than 40,000 visits were accomplished. In addition, family planning measures as well as psychosocial aid for the victims of family violence (an unfortunately ever-present phenomenon), are also proposed.
Two major constraints make the daily life of pregnant women more complex. On the one hand, the government’s health infrastructures are not available in the refugee camps. On the other, giving birth in institutions is not a part of the current cultural practice. During the health education sessions, the midwives point out the importance of expectant women giving birth under proper conditions in a health structure.
These group sessions contribute to strengthening the links between the women and inside the community itself, a significant benefit in a society torn by the war. Thanks to the positive impact of the project, but also due to the increasing health needs of expectant women and mothers, the project that expanded to help over 10,000 beneficiaries in 2013, intends to continue its fight to improve mother-and- child health in Afghanistan.
Terre des hommes brings about a positive change in the daily lives of over two million children and their families every year. Learn more about our projects in Afghanistan.