Improving the health of women and children in Northern Afghanistan

March 6, 2014 – Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) are working together to improve the health of women and children in Northern Afghanistan, where maternal and child mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world.

There are a range of factors that limit a woman’s ability to have a safe pregnancy and delivery: living in isolated, inaccessible rural areas, high levels of illiteracy, inadequate healthcare, lack of health care knowledge, and cultural restrictions, to name a few.

The Improving Maternal and Child Health in Bamyan and Badakhshan program, supported by AKFC and Global Affairs Canada and implemented by AKF Afghanistan, will strengthen health systems, improve nutrition and reduce the burden of disease on mothers and children.

Watch the video, Daring to Deliver, and browse the photo gallery below to learn more.

Daring to Deliver

A glimpse into the impact of Faizabad Provincial Hospital

mnch 1 Maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) is one of the most pressing public health issues in Afghanistan. The under-five child mortality rate and the maternal mortality ratio are among the highest in the world.
DSC 9708 Under AKFC-supported programming, the Faizabad Hospital will become a provincial Centre of Excellence on MNCH, offering services for the region, as well as the best clinical and managerial practices and training.
DSC 9906 Khadija, a midwife in training, teaches Ariza how to breastfeed her 20-day-old son. Ariza brought him to the hospital, worried after he refused her breast milk. Moments later, he latched successfully.
DSC 9773 The new maternity ward of the Faizabad Hospital helps babies like Nafiz. Nafiz was born weighing only four pounds and has an infection. The AKFC-supported Centre of Excellence on MNCH will have advanced diagnostic equipment to treat children early.
DSC 9766 Homa, 30, attends to a boy who has been diagnosed with a blood disease in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. She has been working as a midwife since she was 16, delivering thousands of babies in the Faizabad Hospital.
DSC 9739 High blood pressure relating to pregnancy is a major cause of maternal mortality. This patient arrived in a coma after a seizure that was caused by high blood pressure. She delivered her baby safely.
DSC 0130 A father and daughter wait for the newest member of their family to be born. Men can play an important role in ensuring that women have access to the necessary care for pregnancy and delivery.
DSC 0109 Shah Gul, 65, waits for her sister to recover in the Faizabad Hospital. Her sister, also in her 60s, is being treated for a prolapsed uterus, a condition usually affecting postmenopausal women who have had many pregnancies and deliveries.
DSC 0066 Suhaila married at age 13 and had her first baby at 14. She came to the hospital when she miscarried two months into her pregnancy.
DSC 0019 Dr. Nazia Mitra, one of two surgeons at the Faizabad Hospital, shares a smile with students in the maternity ward. When they graduate, students return to their rural communities to share their new skills.
DSC 9661 Mahbooba, 19, studies nursing. She is one of many students (both male and female) who come to Faizabad from rural areas across Badakhshan.
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