Afghanistan has had one of the most egregious maternal mortality rates in the world. But recently women’s education and medical degrees are making in roads in some unlikely places. In many of even the most conservative districts. Tribal leaders are beginning to recognize the importance of training their women in medical techniques that can save the lives of literally thousands upon thousands of mothers (24,000 die every year 1 that would otherwise die in childbirth of highly preventable complications.
“Midwives, too, are making the difference. Each day they fan out across nearly every province of the country, including areas international aid agencies do not dare to visit, bringing birthing kits and teaching health and hygiene to thousands of women. A country that is home to some of the world’s deadliest maternal mortality rates has become a regional role model when it comes to swiftly saving women’s lives. Afghanistan counted barely 200 marginally educated midwives in 2001; today, that number has climbed to more than 2,000 well-trained professionals. These health providers earn valuable income to feed their own families and help others get healthier in the process. Along the way, they have become respected leaders in their communities and trusted advocates for change” 2
We applaud these changes in perception on the appropriate roles of women that has opened up hope in Afghanistan for addressing their maternal mortality rates. No country will long survive that does not protect their mothers. By educating the women and mothers, allowing them to gain confidence and contribute in meaningful ways, Afghanistan will see not only immediate improvements in their maternal mortality rate, but will also likely witness greater overall success of their whole country.
- UN News Centre, Maternal Health Biggest Challenge Facing Afghan Women, 2008, para 1 ↩
- CNN, Never dismiss power of Afghan women, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Publication date 8 March 2010, Access date 8 March 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/03/08/lemmon.afghan.women/index.html?hpt=C1) 7, 8 ↩