Since AfD’s first days in Geneva, our attention has been directed towards finding solutions to Afghanistan’s healthcare crisis. Of all the country’s health issues, lack of efficient reproductive health education is among the most important. It is fundamental to address this issue, given that women carry as many as 10 children during their lifetime, that Afghanistan has the world’s highest infant mortality rate and that it comes 22nd for maternal mortality.
AfD’s very first action after establishment in Geneva was to give access to reproductive health training to 25 Afghan medical professionals. The men and women selected for the course were doctors and midwives from AfD’s established healthcare facilities in Herat, Baghlan, Ghazni and Kabul, and all possessed over ten years of working experience. The training included modules on maternal and perinatal health, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, adolescent health and development with a focus on sexual and reproductive health, family planning and community genetics. It was spread over six months of online training from May to November of 2011, followed by a week-long intensive course in Geneva in June 2012. In order to respond to training needs, the online course was developed by specialists from around the world coming from such institutions as the World Health Organization, Oxford University and the Geneva University Hospital. The training was provided by the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
One of the greatest challenges faced during this project was ensuring access to information for all participants. While some could access the information online, others lacked reliable internet connections. In the view of these difficulties, AfD provided a printed version of the information package.
As a result of this training, doctors and medical professionals working in Afghan field hospitals enhanced their knowledge and experience. The project has had enduring success as the trainees’ new knowledge is shared among colleagues, reaching health professionals who did not participate in the initial training. The project has helped improve the quality of available reproductive health care.