Maternal and Child Health Initiative in Afghanistan

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Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women and children. Only 14 percent of its women have access to skilled medical childbirth care – partly because Afghanistan’s male health care providers are not allowed to treat women. Each day, 70 pregnant Afghan women die, many during childbirth.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

Sakena Yacoobi, a longtime advocate for women’s rights, was determined to do something about the country’s high maternal mortality rate – and the fact that one in four Afghan children don’t live to see their fifth birthday. She went on to found the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL).

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

In 2006, the Afghan Institute of Learning partnered with Abbott, the Abbott Fund and Direct Relief International to improve the health of women and children in Afghanistan. The Abbott Fund has focused its support on empowering Afghan women through the training of female midwives to provide skilled assistance during labor and delivery, as well as care for infants and children. In addition, the Abbott Fund supports five of AIL's clinics – staffed and operated primarily by Afghan women – to provide quality patient care and services.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

The Abbott Fund helps support AIL’s five clinics, which are staffed and operated by Afghan women. They serve mostly rural areas in the Herat and Kabul provinces.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

To date, 78 women have completed midwife training through AIL. Most of them now work in clinics and hospitals.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

Many of Sakena Yacoobi’s students take their training classes inside this converted shipping container, which is located on the grounds of the Herat clinic.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

The women appreciate the opportunity to study, even in cramped conditions.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

In addition to grant support from the Abbott Fund, Abbott supports AIL’s five clinics with donations of medical and nutrition products.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

We support AIL’s five-day health education workshops, where local women learn the basics of health care and nutrition. The workshops also teach Afghan women how to read.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

Over the past five years, Sakena Yacoobi’s organization has delivered reproductive health services to nearly 170,000 Afghan women and conducted health education classes for nearly 1 million.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

AIL has also performed nutritional assessments for more than 200,000 children.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

The Abbott Fund is an active member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, whose mission is to empower Afghan women by mobilizing public and private resources to advance women’s health, financial standing and social status.

Improving Education and Health Services for Vulnerable Families

RESULTS
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   at AWS.Web.UI.WebControls.ImageDisplay.get_ImageUrl() Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world – 70 pregnant women die each day, often during childbirth. Meanwhile, one in five children will not live to see their fifth birthday. The Abbott Fund is working to improve the lives of Afghan women and children through a partnership with Direct Relief and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Founded by Nobel Prize nominee Sakena Yacoobi, a longtime advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan, AIL has five clinics serving rural areas, each providing health services and education and staffed and operated by Afghan women. To help expand AIL's health education efforts, the partnership focuses on supporting Women's Health Workshops, Expectant Mothers Workshops and nutrition education programs. AIL also works to empower women by training midwives, as well as skilled health care providers for infants and children. Along with contributing our expertise, we’ve supported AIL with more than $4.5 million in product donations and $1.2 million in grants.
Results Sources: Direct Relief and the Afghan Institute of Learning
Results to Date

12/06/2013

Copyright © 2006, 2014 Abbott Fund. Abbott Park, Illinois, U.S.A.