Dr. Nasrin Oryakhil, a prominent leader in the field of maternal health, has been selected for prestigious International Women of the Courage Award by the US.
A doctor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Director of Malalai Maternity Hospital in Kabul since 2004, Dr. Oryakhil would receive the award from the First Lady, Michelle Obama, at an awards ceremony at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
The Secretary of State, John Kerry, who was earlier scheduled to be present at awards ceremony, is now travelling to Kiev in the aftermath of the Ukrainian situation. He would be represented by Deputy Secretary of State, Heather A Higginbottom.
Among other awardees are Roshika Deo (Fiji), Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze (Georgia), Dr. Iris Yassmin Barrios Aguilar (Guatemala), Fatimata Touré (Mali), Dr. Maha Al Muneef (Saudi Arabia to be awarded in absentia), Laxmi (India), Oinikhol Bobonazarova (Tajikistan), Ruslana Lyzhychko (Ukraine) and Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe).
Established in 2007, the annual Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk.
In addition to providing emergency obstetric care to women, including for rural women who come to Kabul because of medical complications, Dr. Nasrin founded, at Malalai Maternity Hospital, the first center for obstetric fistula repair in Afghanistan.
Dr. Nasrin is also firmly committed to strengthening the role of women in medical professions in Afghanistan. She has increased the recognition of the essential role of midwives and supported the establishment of the Afghan Midwives Association.
She is the president of the non-governmental organization Afghan Family Health Association, which is currently implementing innovative reproductive health programs, providing a hotline for youth and shelters for women, and conducting outreach sessions in high schools to raise reproductive health awareness among students.
She is also an active member of the Afghan Women’s Network, has spoken before the Parliament many times, has presented at professional medical conferences, and is part of the working group tasked to establish a Medical Council in Afghanistan.