By Staff Sgt. John MattiasMarch 20, 2013
GHORAK DISTRICT, Afghanistan - The Afghan government provided significant medical and humanitarian relief efforts in Ghorak district, Kandarhar province, March 3-6.
Approximately 14 Afghan women walked as far as 9 km in cold temperatures from Janabad, Baghe Mehrab, Shah Karez, and Kapkak villages to attend a four-day midwife and emergency birth attendant training event.
The women learned prenatal care, warning signs in pregnancy and newborns, emergency birth procedures, and basic newborn care during classroom and practical instruction.
"There are no midwives in my village," said one of the students. "My grandmother assisted with many births within the family."
Many mothers and infants die because of the low number of trained women available to assist with childbirth. Midwife training is critical to the survival and health of mothers and newborns.
"This is my ninth pregnancy and I don't have anyone to help me. Maybe a neighbor might help me, but I'm not sure," said one of the pregnant students. "I'm concerned because I've had five babies and lost three babies during childbirth. So, I really need this training to help myself."
Four pregnant students received prenatal exams and birthing kits at the conclusion of the training event. The kits contained items to help with childbirth such as receiving blankets, gloves and a bulb syringe. During the prenatal exam, mothers received a physical checkup and were able to listen to their unborn baby's heartbeat. Just after the midwife training, provincial and district leaders introduced a new healthcare worker who will provide services to the village's women, men, and children.
Provincial Minister of Public Health, Dr. Pokhola, introduced Abdul Qadem as the district's new community healthcare worker during the shura with District Governor, Daru Khan, and Afghan Health and Development Services representative, Dr. Fazalrahman. Qadem will assist the Minister of Public Health by identifying the villagers' medical needs and keeping the clinic stocked with medical supplies. The clinic provides Ghorak villagers medical care, including vaccinations, close to their own homes and demonstrates the Afghan government's commitment to the district.
Dr. Pokhola administered approximately 50 polio vaccines to the district's children. "It's been approximately one year ago since vaccinators have been in the area," said one of the villagers. "Vaccinations should be more available to women and children."
The district leadership ended the eventful day by distributing food aid to the villagers. Along with World Food Program representatives, district leaders distributed over 60kg of flour, oil, salt and beans to over 100 villagers.
"The purpose of the program is to provide aid to those who need it most and to bridge the gap between the citizens of Ghorak District and provincial sponsored programs," said Sadar Mohammadin, a World Food Program representative. "Villagers should contact their district governance in order to receive more relief items."
Distributing food and medical supplies to the clinic provides immediate relief and shows the Afghan government's development and governance efforts working towards the villagers' well being.
The World Food Program representative says district leadership may request and receive food for children after Ghorak has established a school.
Local village elders thanked the district governor for his generosity to contribute so much to the community.