No female gynaecologist in 14 districts of Kunar
But authorities say a midwifery training process is currently underway. They hope the problem will be resolved with the completion of the training programme in three years from now.
Director of Public Health Dr. Asadullah Fazli says programmes for training educated girls as midwives have been launched in several provinces with the support of foreign donors.
In Asadabad, the provincial capital, a centre has been set up to train midwives and nurses. Considering Islamic values, secure accommodation, messing, recreational facilities, a kindergarten, transportation, a well-equipped library and a laboratory will be set up at the training institute.
At the moment, 60 girls have been selected on the basis of merit for the two-year training course to meet pre- and post-natal needs of women in Asadabad and 14 other districts of Kunar. Fazli adds 30 of the girls are being taught midwifery skills, with the remaining half being trained as nurses.
Apart from the provincial capital, not a single district of Kunar has a gynaecologists, an issue that has been shared with the Ministry of Public Health in Kabul. Additionally, the Asadabad Civil Hospital’s building is also in shabby condition, according to the official.
With the completion of the training course, he is optimistic, the shortage of gynaecologists and midwives at the district level will be overcome.
A resident of Manogai district who is currently being trained as a midwife, Khadija has passed her 12th grade exam. Desirous of providing public health services since her childhood, she went to school in her area in the hope of being able to serve mothers and new-borns. “With family support, I was selected on merit for the training course.”
Her colleague from Sarkano district Arzo stresses women’s role as health workers in any society, saying she was getting training at the institute in the spirit to serve local women. “Even now we go to districts to help females in need of medical care.”
Malalai Amin, a trainer at the centre, says they teach the girls under training theoretical and practical skills from morning to evening in a highly professional fashion. Some of the trainees, who are taught computer and English lessons, are also sent to clinics to learn basic skills.
Dr. Ehsanullah, head of the training institute, acknowledges high mother and child mortality rates in Kunar. Nonetheless, he is confident the rates will come down significantly after the training course ends and graduates are sent to rural areas.
Parents of trainees have held out assurances their daughters will be allowed to work in their respective areas once they complete training, he says.
A dweller of Shegal district, Hamidullah, linked the absence professional doctors and medics to the high child and mother mortality rates in the area. “In our district, there is not even a single female doctor,” he concludes.
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