1-Year Training for Afghan Midwives in Iran

1-Year Training for Afghan Midwives in Iran1-Year Training for Afghan Midwives in Iran

Under a quadrilateral memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Shahid Akbarabadi Hospital, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Afghan midwives will receive professional training at Iranian academic and medical centers.

The project under the title “Afghan Mothers’ Health” was designed and the MoU signed nearly two years ago.

It is partly funded by the Italian government with an allocation of $1 million as international financial aid to the UNFPA to promote knowledge and boost experience among Afghan midwives to help ensure health security for mothers and their newborns, Mehr News Agency reported.

“In order to provide better services, the midwives will pass a three-month course in their home country after finishing the year-long program at Iranian medical centers,” said Dr. Mohsen Asadi Lari, deputy health minister. He made the remark at the first meeting of the steering committee for the first round of the project, addressing representatives from Shahid Akbarabadi Hospital, ministries of interior, foreign affairs, and health, as well as Afghanistan, Norway, Italy, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dr. Maha El-Adawy, UNFPA representative in Iran was also present.

With approximately 3,000 deliveries a year, the Shahid Akbarabadi Hospital in Tehran specializes in gynecology and obstetrics.

Over 170 traditional midwives have so far registered through the UNFPA to participate in the program.

“Fifty will be selected in the first round, and will begin training as of July 22,” said Asadi Lari, expressing hope that they would return to their homeland and continue a career in midwifery with UNFPA assistance.

A university major in midwifery will also be started at Kabul University, the oldest and largest institution of tertiary education in Afghanistan, Lari added.

One of the main goals of the international program is lowering maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality in the neighboring war-ravaged country as per the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), which specify that global MMR must be reduced to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. To achieve this, every country will need to contribute a two-thirds reduction in its MMR by 2030, regardless of their MMR at baseline.

Iran is one of the few countries to have achieved the Millennium Development Goal 5, which sought a 75% reduction in every country’s MMR by 2015, with an 83% drop between 1990 and 2012. The country has also ratified the SDGs, and its national MMR stood at 25 in 2015.