Women from Panjshir, Parwan, and Kapisa provinces are currently enrolled in a midwife program at the Kapisa Midwife Education Center designed to teach Afghan women the skills needed to assist expectant mothers and provide women’s healthcare education.
Fifty-six students are currently in month five of the 24-month Kapisa Community Midwife Education Program. Upon completion of the course they will begin work in their local villages.
“Besides funding, the [Kapisa] PRT has worked with the Provincial Director of Health, Dr. Mirza on many issues involving health care, to include, identifying areas he needs help in and then assisting him in connecting the province with the national level to fulfill the province’s needs,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Shafa, commander of the Kapisa PRT and native of San Francisco. “One example of this is his work with the Ministry of Public Health to attempt to standardize the midwife training program curriculum nationwide.”
Right now, only female traditional practitioners, older women who have had no formal training, help mothers during delivery at home in villages where a midwife isn’t available. These practitioners’ only education is the experience they have developed over the years.
“All our facilities will have a midwife, and at the community level, we will offer the qualified midwife to help pregnant mothers during pregnancy, during delivery, and after delivery,” said Mirza.
The Kapisa Midwife Education Center employs 12 trainers, who teach a variety of subjects ranging from childbirth care and managing newborn problems to family planning.
In order to attend the training the women must meet the required criteria. All students must be selected by their village elders, agree to serve their village until they’re excused by the village elders and families, and be high school graduates. For students who live in a remote area and don’t have a high school diploma, they at least need to be able to read, write, and understand what the trainers are teaching them.
Along with working as midwives, they will educate their villages about women and children’s healthcare.
“Our goal is to present an opportunity to the Afghans so that they can continue similar programs that build on this one,” added Shafa.
According to Shafa, improving the health and giving the Afghans something to build on in Kapisa will be a lot easier with the assistance of people like Dr. Mirza.
Kapisa province is fortunate to have such a proactive and aggressive Director of Health who genuinely cares for the people and has an innate desire to provide better health care, added Shafa.
Story by Staff Sgt. Frank Inman
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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