Challenges in Women’s Health in Afghanistan

Challenges in Women’s Health in Afghanistan

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With an average of forty-one deliveries per month in CWS-P/A’s Comprehensive Health Center (CHC) located in Sultan Poor District, Nangahar Province, Dr. Ferozan Hameed, Mother and Child Health Coordinator, shares her concerns about women’s health. “Often women lack folic acid and iron, and fruits and vegetables remain missing from their daily intake of food, but a lot of this is because of poverty.” The doctor states hypertension, iron deficiency, and anemia as the common health concerns among women in Afghanistan. “The choice of having between six and seven children is another contributor that is weakening women’s health.”

Dr. Ferozan says that the convincing tools to get women to have fewer children are access to quality education and economic conditions. She also guides women about the importance of family planning and hopes that all of this will improve their health conditions. With records of an estimated six to seven children per woman, women often overlook their own health conditions. The lack of access to health services, proper nutrition, and essential supplements including multi-vitamins are major factors also preventing improvements in women’s health.

As CWS-P/A continues to work to ensure quality mother and child health services through curative, preventive, and reproductive healthcare, a more comprehensive approach is surely helping achieve positive results in Afghanistan. Health staff including Dr. Ferozan share that regular follow-ups are being practiced by women and through improved health awareness at the community level. “With low levels of literacy and limited access to electronic media, the only source is delivering health messages verbally and facilitating talks on health education. Several steps are being taken to build the capacity of health staff and community workers to improve and raise awareness.” The CWS-P/A initiatives are in place to make a difference. Through them, women have better access to nutrition and health services. Women are also encouraged to make more informed choices to improve their maternal health and well-being. Since the start of the year, CWS-P/A health staff reached well over 13,000 women through 216 breastfeeding, 288 nutrition, 245 family planning, and 135 mental health sessions.

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