In Afghanistan, a woman dies every half an hour as a result of complications from childbirth. This is 60 times higher than the mortality rate of women in developed countries. Women’s access to healthcare in Afghanistan is limited due to the marginalization of women in Afghan society.
In June 2003, EMERGENCY opened a Maternity and Gynecology Unit adjacent to the Medical and Surgical Center in the village of Anabah, in the Northern Panjshir Valley. This facility provides free-of-charge, specialized assistance to women in a region with one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. The Center averages 300 births per month.
To guarantee assistance to the population living in the most remote and underserved areas, EMERGENCY created a network of Primary Health Centers equipped for prenatal and post-partum care. And, in order to provide assistance to the many women who prefer to give birth at home, a Childbirth Education Program was initiated in late 2005, along with distribution of sanitary birthing kits to improve hygiene and prevent infection.
The Maternity Center is linked to a network of 18 first aid posts (FAP) and primary health clinics (PHC) located in the most remote areas of the Panjshir and Salang regions. These FAP and PHC offer screening services and follow-up visits to expectant mothers. Medical assistance is also available to new mothers. Should an expectant mother need further testing or urgent treatment, she is transported to the Maternity Center in Anabah by the EMERGENCY ambulance. A team from the Center, an expatriate midwife and an Afghan midwife, periodically visit the FAP and PHC in order to provide on-the-job training to local staff working there.
The all female national medical staff at the Center is supported by a team of expatriate staff who developed the protocols and clinical procedures required to run the Maternity Center. A training program was created to ensure that the national staff acquires the necessary skills and knowledge to handle the rigors of the Center. Prior to EMERGENCY’s intervention, there were no qualified personnel or maternity facilities in a region with approximately 250,000 inhabitants.
The annual operating costs of the Maternity Center are approximately $700,000.
ANABAH MATERNITY CENTER KEY FACTS
Date opened: June 2003
Number of Outpatient Consultations: 121,944
Number of Admitted Patients: 31,711
Number of Surgeries: 6,460
Number of babies delivered: 21,989
Activities: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neonatal Care
Capacity: 25 beds
National Staff: 35
Facilities: Obstetrics Ward and an Internal Medicine Ward (combined 17-bed capacity), Outpatient Department (OPD), Operating Theatre, 5-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 3-bed Isolation Ward, Maternity Ward, Nursery, Ultrasound Room, Delivery room, Diagnostic, Technical and Auxiliary Services shared with the EMERGENCY Medical and Surgical Center.
Data as of December 2013