22-year-old Sharifa is one of the thousands of Afghan mothers struggling to overcome the hurdles that are posed by a healthcare system weakened by decades of war, poor facilities, and social and cultural barriers that are difficult to break.
On Thursday 8 December, EMERGENCY inaugurated the new building at the Maternity Centre in Anabah, Afghanistan. The expansion of the existing Centre, which opened in 2003, will enable the organisation to further improve the medical assistance provided to mothers and children living in the Panjshir Valley and surrounding Provinces.
Over the years, EMERGENCY’s Maternity Centre has become a focal point for the local population, reaching an average of more than 500 deliveries per month. In order to provide even more efficient and effective medical care to the growing number of patients, EMERGENCY started working on expanding the existing facilities in 2015. The construction works and the facility set-up have lasted for over one year for an overall cost of € 1.5 million, bringing together the work of different professionals and technicians from Afghanistan and Europe.
The new Maternity Centre is a state-of-art hospital, furnished with high quality biomedical equipment and includes 1 new operating block with 4 delivery rooms, 2 operating theatres, 1 intensive care unit, 1 neonatal sub-intensive care unit, 1 intensive care unit for women with complications during delivery, 1 outpatient clinic, 1 gynaecological ward, an area dedicated to follow-ups and one for women in labour.
In Afghanistan, where maternal mortality rate amounts to 396 for 100,000 live births, mothers’ and children’s health is a daily emergency; for many women, EMERGENCY’s Maternity Centre is the only chance they have to access specialist medical care during pregnancy and thus represents the best hope for delivering their babies in safety and being attended by skilled health staff.
The Maternity Centre in Anabah also runs an antenatal program aimed at monitoring pregnancies in order to promptly identify complications. Finally, the specialisation school at the Maternity Centre, where Afghan Female Doctors can complete programmes in gynaecology, is recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Health.
A significant part of the work of EMERGENCY’s international staff in Anabah is training local staff – formed by around 90 people, all of them women – both on practical and theoretical levels.
Starting from 16 December, the new Maternity Centre in Anabah will be fully operational to respond to the increasing needs of the local population and capable of providing care for more than 600 women per month.
EMERGENCY has been working in Afghanistan since 1999, providing medical and surgical care to war victims in its 3 Surgical Centres (Anabah, Kabul, Lashkar-gah) and in its network of 40 First Aid Post and Primary Healthcare Centres across the country. The Maternity Centre has been operating since 2003 and has provided more than 200,000 women with medical care. More than 37,000 babies have been born at the centre since it opened.
To learn more about the Maternity Centre, please click here.
To learn more about the training programmes at the Centre, please click here.