Celebrating female health providers in rural Afghanistan

This picture story is to celebrate female health providers in rural Afghanistan.

Afghan women are seen as the oppressed and the victim, but I know of around 13,000 women in rural Afghanistan who help their peers and children have a good health. They are heroes, doctors, and live-savers. They are called Community Health Workers.

She is a Community Health Worker in an Afghan village.

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Around 70 percent of Afghan population live rural areas, made of small and big villages.

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These villages do not have safe drinking water, proper sanitation, electricity, asphalted road, health facilities, and often proper schools.

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To provide health services in theses villages, two villagers, a man and a woman, are selected to become Community Health Workers. Once selected, they receive three rounds of 21-days of training.

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As most women are illiterate at the rural level, they learn through pictures and images. Once they completed the training. CHWs are given a box of drugs and supplies to provide primary health care services to the villagers.

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At the same time, a room in the village will become a Health Post.

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Health Post is a place from where Community Health Workers operate.

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A health post has health and literacy charts on the wall for public health education.

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Another illiterate woman became community health worker 7 years ago. Community Health Workers undertake four main tasks: (1) treat prevalent diseases among children (2) counsel women on family planning, pregnancy, birth planning, and health seeking behaviour, (3) refer pregnant women and patients to a health clinic, and (4) document and track health activities at the village level.

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She is now known as the Aunty Doctor in her village. In 2008, Aunty Doctor was given a piece of wood by the provincial government. On her way back home, she thought of throwing the wood away and then thought to use the piece of wood to warm up her home. At home, when her husband read what was written on it, tear circled his eyes, and he hung the piece of wood on the wall.  She was awarded the title of ‘Woman of the Year’  by the provincial government on March 8, 2008.

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And not to forget, there is a man behind the success of a woman!

IMG_8756There are 13,000 female Community Health Workers in Afghan villages providing primary health care services for their fellow villagers. Happy International Woman’s Day to all of them. 

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