Afghan women are one step closer to safer childbirth. A foundation-laying ceremony on April 18 marked the beginning of construction of the new Bamyan Provincial Hospital in central Afghanistan – a much-needed facility in one of the most dangerous places in the world to become a mother.
The hospital is being funded through the Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Afghanistan program, a three-year, $50-million program supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC). The hospital is a project of Aga Khan Health Services, which will manage the completed hospital in a public-private partnership with the Government of Afghanistan.
One of the poorest regions of Afghanistan, Bamyan struggles with some of the worst rates of maternal and newborn mortality in the country, with 98 percent of deliveries taking place at home, mostly without a skilled birth attendant.
The construction of the hospital offers new hope to the province. The first phase of construction will see the completion of an 86-bed facility offering high-quality maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) care, alongside services which will also address the general medical needs of the population. The hospital will serve a catchment area of almost 400,000 people, with an estimated 70 percent of the patients expected to be women and children.
The program has been designed to align with the Government of Afghanistan’s health sector strategy and policies. Beyond the construction and upgrading of health facilities, the project includes training for midwives and nurses, a community nutrition program and other health promotion activities.
Read more about maternal, newborn and child health in Afghanistan in a feature interview with Dr. Ahmad Fawad Akbari of AKF Afghanistan.