Midwifery is an important profession that provides healthcare to a pregnant mother and her baby before and after the birth.
The recent graduation of 29 midwives from a nursing education course is but one of many advances in the improvement of the healthcare in Khost province. Most importantly, these graduates will be a part of mobile teams that will be able to attend to women and their newborns in remote areas of the province.
This level of care has been shown to drastically reduce infant and mother mortality rates; that means a higher survival rate for children. According to Rabia Halim, head of the Community Nursing Education Programme, these 29 graduates were the 5th group to complete the course successfully.
“We launched the nursing school in 2004 here in Khost; and have already trained 148 midwives in total. Eighty-three of them are working in Khost,” she told the media at the graduation ceremony.
Mrs Halim went on to explain that the original course was only 18-month long, but has now been extended to two years as the curriculum has expanded, thereby increasing the level of care that can be provided.
Dr Hedayatullah Hamid, deputy head of the Public Health Department in Khost, said that the salary paid to midwives is quite good. It motivates them to work in the remote areas of the province. According to him the Community Health Nursing Education Programme was also expanding; 37 young women have recently started their training as midwives.
The programme has been very useful for the areas where there are no qualified lady doctors. “In many regions of the province we have no female doctors so these nurses and midwives play a very important role,” said Dr Majid Mangal, the chief medical superintendent at the Khost Civil Hospital.
Dr Mangal said that about 80 per cent of the trained midwives now work in the more remote regions of the province, bringing a basic but vital level of immediate care to those who need it the most. Miss Aziza is one of the recent graduates and was motivated to begin her work. “We have learned so much in the past months. I am ready to work in any region of Khost province so I can help save the lives of the mothers and children of our nation,” she said.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is keen on improving the health services in the country. According to Save the Children, currently there are 3,500 midwives in Afghanistan, compared to 450 midwives 10 years ago.