AfD has been supporting efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality by providing midwifery training in Afghanistan since 2014. To this day, 490midwives have had access to the specialized training, 92 of them becoming trainers and as a result an additional 398midwives were trained through a cascade-model approach.
According to UNICEF, the under-five mortality rate in Afghanistan is 68 deaths per 1,000 live births, infant mortality rate of 52 deaths per 1,000 live births, maternal mortality rate of 638 deaths per 100,000 live births; only 51% of births attended by skilled health personnel.Long distances to health facilities and lack of female medical personnel are amongst the main concerns regarding women’s access to health care.
The project began in 2014 when AfD partnered with the Geneva Health School, Department of Midwifery (Haute École de Santé de Genève, Département de Sage-Femmes) and the Ferdows Foundation to create a cascade model training program for midwives.
To this day, training has been held in the provinces of Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Bamyan, Panshjer and Takhar. In 2019, AfD developed 5 additional training modules. The training includes two weeks traditional learning and a two days residency at a provincial hospital.
The cascade model approach has the advantage of being very cost effective in areas where resources are limited and where reaching those in need is difficult. Furthermore, it has proven more successful in implementing community-based initiatives than traditional training models.The training is recognized by the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan; each student takes a final exam in order to receive an official certificate of recognition.