Benefits of Midwifery in Afghanistan
Posted on: Monday, July 9, 2012
Afghanistan is often in the headlines, but far from the limelight, MADRE is working with a network of brave midwives who dare to stand up against violence and for women’s health.
Keep reading for more information about the threats women face, and what we’re doing about it.
Violence against Women:
Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a woman.
“Honor killing,” marital rape and domestic violence, among other forms of abuse, is widespread and deeply entrenched in notions of traditional gender roles. It is estimated that one in three Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual abuse.
These women are systematically denied access to their basic human rights, including education, healthcare and freedom of movement. For example, cultural practice forbids a woman to travel outside the home without a male relative, making it nearly impossible to escape life-threatening abuse.
In these situations, Afghan women have little chance to live a life free from violence.
Afghanistan is also one of the worst places to be a mother. With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, a woman in Afghanistan dies from child birth every 27 minutes.
A majority of these deaths are preventable, but barriers stand in the way of Afghan women’s access to health care services, such as pre- and post-natal care:
- Cultural preference dictates that a woman be treated by women, despite a scarcity of trained female health workers.
- In rural Afghanistan, the nearest clinic could be hundreds of miles away, too far to reach in an emergency.
As a consequence, only 16 percent of Afghan women receive prenatal care, and only 14 percent of births in Afghanistan are supervised by skilled health attendants. Unsurprisingly, Afghanistan’s health record is among the worst in the world.
How MADRE Helps:
While the status of Afghan women’s health remains dire, the recent rise in midwifery throughout the country has proven essential in improving the health—physical, mental and social—of women in Afghanistan.
MADRE recognizes the unique opportunity offered by a midwife’s access to the intimate spaces of women’s lives that are often hidden away from public view. For a woman trapped in an abusive and violent situation, her midwife is one of the few people she can open up to about the dangers she faces.
Through expanding our Afghan Women’s Survival Fund, an underground rescue network where women who are threatened with violence can covertly escape to safety, MADRE has newly partnered with a network of midwives to help identify at risk women.
The midwives, who themselves must remain anonymous throughout this process for their own safety, can now activate the Fund to connect abused women to resources and aid them to safety. Our Fund covers the costs of emergency medical care, food, shelter, transportation, clothing and other personal effects for women to escape.
Midwives do more than deliver babies—they give women a chance at a healthy life, safe from violence. When we support midwives, we help to clear that path to safety.
To support the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund, click here.
Archives"Press Room" Home October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Forbidden Talk - Prostitution in the Middle East (Levant TV, October 7, 2014)
Women's Organizations Fighting Against Gender-Based Violence in Iraq (Girls' Globe, October 1, 2014)
We all know about jihadists, but what about those waging an 'anti-jihad'? (Reuter, October 1, 2014)
Breaking the gridlock of climate change negotiations: learning from allies (openDemocracy, September 29, 2014)
Arab and Jewish midwives find a common language (Haaretz, September 12, 2014)