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Midwives Play Important Role In Reducing Maternal Morbidity, Mortality In Afghanistan

“Midwives are an integral and inseparable component of the health care delivery system …, play[ing] a vital role in improving maternal and neonatal health worldwide,” public health consultant Aziz Baig writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “In developing countries like Afghanistan, midwives bring great hope to the tens of thousands of women who have no access to doctors or clinics,” he states, noting “[j]ust 10 years ago, Afghanistan was the most dangerous place in the world for a woman to give birth.” However, he adds, “[a]ccording to a report released by [WHO] in 2012, the maternal mortality worldwide has dropped by 47 percent since 1990,” and “[t]he most encouraging news is that the number of maternal deaths in Afghanistan has declined by 65 percent.”

“The intent of this article is not to defend the above stated findings of the WHO report, rather to shed light on those avant-garde interventions and indefatigable community-based approaches that led to a significant reduction in maternal mortality in Afghanistan,” Baig continues, noting, “In order to support and complement Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) projects in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with [USAID] and other donor agencies established community midwifery schools in almost all provinces of Afghanistan.” He describes the program, profiles one of “the first batch of eighteen students who enrolled in the community midwifery school in 2005,” and writes, “Due to their untiring efforts, devotion, insatiable interest and everlasting commitment to their nation, all maternal and child health indicators have now improved in Afghanistan” (8/28).