Among Afghan women of childbearing age who die each year, almost half die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly 90 percent of these deaths are preventable. For the past decade, AKDN has been addressing this situation by training community midwives to work in the remote rural areas where maternal and child health care provision is most needed.
In the central province of Bamyan, AKDN has been training community midwives in a small school established in 2004 (two other schools, in Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces, are also in operation). Upon completion of her studies, a graduate often works in the Bamyan hospital, which is also operated by AKDN. After a year, she may go to work in one of AKDN’s network of health centres.
The midwife course is part of AKDN’s broad effort to assist in the reconstruction of the health infrastructure. Currently, AKDN operates two hospitals, 22 health centres, 12 sub-centres, two mobile health units and more than 200 health posts in isolated villages. It provides health care to a population of more than 400,000 people in some of Afghanistan’s most remote and inaccessible areas. AKDN is also working with the Afghan government to develop a pool of qualified professionals in all areas of health care by offering medical training for doctors, nurses and administrators, as well as technical advice and support on health policy, nursing standards and midwifery education.
"I am increasingly inclined to define poverty not only as a matter of income, but rather as a state of marginalisation in all of those conditions which contribute to the quality of human life. A state of poverty is a state of deprivation with respect to health and nutrition, education and security, housing and credit, and all the other conditions which are essential to human well- being." His Highness the Aga Khan at the Conference on Central Asia and Europe: A new economic partnership for the 21st century, Berlin, Germany - 13 November 2007