August 24, 2007

Go, JHPIEGO, Go! Midwife Training In Afghanistan

Afghanistan has the second highest rate of mortality for pregnant women and newborns in the world. Women have a 1 in 9 chance of dying during or after birth, and children of those women have only a 1 in 4 chance of survival. There are several international medical and health organizations, though, including the WHO, which appear to be making progress in training midwives across the country. Erica Barnett writes about them in a post on Worldchanging, A Midwife For Every Afghan Mother:

But the tide may be turning. In 2005, Afghan midwives banded together to form the Afghan Midwives Association; by 2006, the organization had been admitted to the International Confederation of Midwives, and had helped to triple the number of trained midwives in Afghanistan. Another program, known as International Midwife Assistance, focuses particularly on rural Afghan women who deliver their babies at home. In 2004, the Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), an international health organization based in Baltimore, Maryland, launched its own training program for Afghani midwives. And earlier this year, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan graduated a class of 20 midwives in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan. The goal of all these and other midwifery programs: To train women about healthy prenatal care and safe childbirth and parenting practices, including sanitation, proper diet, and care of newborn infants.
It's too early to tell whether the WHO's other program, A Manly Diaper Bag For Every Afghan Father, is convincing men to stop killing women for perceived sleights to family honor and treating them as property.

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