Birth & Midwifery in Afghanistan
Resources for parents and practitioners
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Sabera Turkmani and Sharon Craig Economides
Sabera Turkmani has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Midwifery from Mashad Medical University, Iran, in 2002. Her experience in Iran involved working with Afghan refugees providing reproductive health services under a UNFPA-funded project. Upon returning to Afghanistan she worked with International Medical Corps (IMC) as a midwifery trainer in a tertiary referral teaching hospital. Since 2005 she was working with JHPIEGO, Health Services Support Project (HSSP), funded by USAID, where she was the midwifery technical advisor for JHPIEGO’s midwifery pre-service education programs in Afghanistan. She has experience in performance quality improvements in midwifery education and clinical site strengthening. She was also a leading member of the national midwifery education accreditation board and with the board has actively participated in the establishment of midwifery education policies and standards for the country. Sabera is currently working on a master’s degree in public health at the James P. Grant school of public health, BRAC University in Bangladesh.
Sharon Craig Economides was born at home with a midwife. She has worked as a midwife and humanitarian in homes, birth centers, and in the hospital setting in Russia, the Philippines, Haiti, Afghanistan and California. As an undergraduate, Sharon studied English Literature at the University of California at Berkeley and holds a Master’s degree in Midwifery from the University of Sheffield in the UK. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is a freelance writer; her articles have been published in Midwifery Today, Sojourners, Pakistan’s The Friday Times and other publications.
About birth in Afghanistan
- Where giving birth is a forecast of death: maternal mortality in four districts of Afghanistan, 1999–2002, Linda A. Bartlett, et al., and the Afghan Maternal Mortality Study Team—Lancet 2005; 365: 864–70
- Trends in
Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008
The fifth MDG (WHO Millennium Development Goal) aims to improve maternal health with a target of reducing the MMR by 75% between 1990 and 2015. The adult lifetime risk of maternal death (the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a maternal cause) as measured in 2008 is highest in sub-Saharan Africa (at 1 in 31), followed by Oceania (1 in 110), and South Asia (1 in 120), while developed regions had the smallest lifetime risk (1 in 4300). Of the 172 countries and territories, Afghanistan had the highest estimated lifetime risk of 1 in 11.
- Afghanistan’s maternal and child mortality rates soar
- Afghanistan is among worst places on globe to be pregnant
- High Maternal Mortality Ratio in Herat Province, Afghanistan First Data-Driven Survey Details Health Crisis for Afghan Mothers —
full research report
- The Birth of Hope, March 2004 article on birth in Afghanistan