'I cannot express how happy I am': how maternal health programs are bringing joy to families in Afghanistan.

 
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KHORI FELT LIKE A BURDEN TO HER HUSBAND, CONSTANTLY having to ask him to take her to the health centre in the city. In the poor, remote Afghan village they live in, there is no hospital close by. Travelling was expensive, and Khori soon grew hesitant to seek the care she needed.

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The scarcity of health services in rural Afghanistan creates an especially dire situation for pregnant women, new mothers and their children. Without proper medical care, becoming a mother can be life threatening. Even if medical services are available, strict cultural barriers often exclude women from accessing the necessary services and treatment, and exercising control over their reproductive health.

PWS&D has been working with partners in Afghanistan and Malawi to address these issues since 2011. By establishing new health facilities, training birth attendants and educating and engaging communities about the importance of maternal health and proper newborn care, PWS&D's maternal and child health program is helping women and children survive childbirth and have healthy and hopeful lives.

In 2015, the Government of Canada announced its approval of up to $4.1 million for a new PWS&D maternal health project, which will be twice the size and build on the success of the previous project (2011-2014). PWS&D is thrilled to carry on the work that is empowering women and girls and growing the availability of health services in Afghanistan and Malawi.

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The project has been immensely valuable to Khori, who no longer feels like a burden to her family. Funds from the program went towards establishing a new health centre in her village. "It is now easy to get medical assistance," she shares.

When Khori's daughter-in-law was pregnant, she was able to have routine checkups at the new centre. Because it is close by, both women could travel there themselves, feeling confident and independent. Under the care of practised birth attendants, Khori's daughter-in-law delivered a healthy baby...

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