Development of the Community Midwifery Education initiative and its influence on women's health and empowerment in Afghanistan: a case study.


Speakman, EM; Shafi, A; Sondorp, E; Atta, N; Howard, N; (2014) Development of the Community Midwifery Education initiative and its influence on women's health and empowerment in Afghanistan: a case study. BMC Womens Health, 14 (1). p. 111. ISSN 1472-6874 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6874-14-111

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Political transition in Afghanistan enabled reconstruction of the destroyed health system. Maternal health was prioritised due to political will and historically high mortality. However, severe shortages of skilled birth attendants - particularly in rural areas - hampered safe motherhood initiatives. The Community Midwifery Education (CME) programme began training rural midwives in 2002, scaling-up nationally in 2005. METHODS This case study analyses CME development and implementation to help determine successes and challenges. Data were collected through documentary review and key informant interviews. Content analysis was informed by Walt and Gilson's policy triangle framework. RESULTS The CME programme has contributed to consistently positive indicators, including up to a 1273/100,000 reduction in maternal mortality ratios, up to a 28% increase in skilled deliveries, and a six-fold increase in qualified midwives since 2002. Begun as a small pilot, CME has gained support of international donors, the Afghan government, and civil society. CONCLUSION CME is considered by stakeholders to be a positive model for promoting women's education, employment, and health. However, its future is threatened by insecurity, corruption, lack of regulation, and funding uncertainties. Strategic planning and resource mobilisation are required for it to achieve its potential of transforming maternal healthcare in Afghanistan.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
PubMed ID: 25220577
Web of Science ID: 342518200001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1924954

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