We caught up with pediatrician Dr. Zabi Rahimi in Geneva, who has been training midwives for over ten years, and for AfD since 2014. He told us about the importance of midwifery and his work in women and children’s health in Afghanistan.
Dr. Rahimi why did you decide to become a pediatrician?
I wanted to become a pediatrician because I knew there aren’t enough of us in Afghanistan. There are health needs for mothers and children that aren’t met. A lot of children are dying before their 5th birthday, and pediatricians can help to reduce their mortality rate.
What is your role with AfD?
I work with AfD in Kabul for the capacity building of midwives. We are teaching midwives in some provinces of Afghanistan because they have knowledge gaps. Many midwives don’t know how to deal with emergency cases or how to solve typical problems.
Where are the needs most urgent?
We have already conducted trainings in the provinces of Kabul, Kapisa, Parwan, Herat, Bamyan. We first made location assessments and we determined that these were some of the provinces most in need; we found midwives that are in need of training because in government-run study programs, many basic elements are not included in their curriculum although they are very important.
What are midwives typically trained in?
The topic of these trainings is newborn care, how to resuscitate, how to manage PPH (Post Partum Hemorrhage), and also Enclampsia and Pre-eclampsia, two illnesses that can occur during pregnancy – these are some of the basic problems in Afghanistan. Midwives should know how to deal with them if these cases occur.
What is the feedback you receive?
Midwives are very happy that this training exists. They suggest that it is vital that our training is conducted for more midwives in other parts of Afghanistan as well. Our training is also designed as a training program for trainers. Every midwife should replicate the training to additional 5 other midwives. We have some feedbacks from their provinces of origin that the percentage of mortality has gone down in mothers and babies.
What does your work with AfD mean to you?
I am very happy that I am able to help the people. I work as master trainer but also provide support when needed while a problem with newborns occur. AfD has a Comprehensive Health Center in Kabul, and we provide birthing services as well. Whenever a healthy baby is born, it is a success story for me because I am aware of the high mortality rate of mothers and children in Afghanistan compared to other countries. Afghanistan is my country, it is close to my heart and I am glad that I can contribute to improve the situation of mothers and their newborns.