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Afghanistan March 23, 2006

Posted by Linda Barnes in Afghanistan, Midwifery.


There are hundreds of organizations participating in the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. It is a complicated situation; stemming the loss of mothers and infants (currently the highest rate in the world) is fraught with many social, economic and political barriers. Both government and non-government aid agencies are territorial and proprietary in their offerings of assistance and reconstruction; political factors between these organizations and the local authorities often impede change or give mixed messages about process and outcome.

Afghanistan, another "failed state" as described by a number of authors, notably Amalendu Misra, was cobbled together by the then-more-powerful nations in the world. Afghanistan is but one of many such "failed states" facing the formidable challenge of building national identity and infrastructure amidst cultural and political multiplicty and historical enmity between ethnic/tribal groups. The obstacles to improving the social, political, and economic infrastructure, especially following years of conflict (over 25 in the case of Afghanistan) is daunting. Women and children who exist on the soft underbelly of society are caught in the actual and figurative cross-fire of the resulting chaos.

The following are some of my ruminations beginning in the summer of 2004 and onward. Some of you may have already seen these ruminations (the initial piece is excerpted from an article in Midwifery Today, Autumn 2005,No. 75)… fast forward knowing it is my intention to stir up interest and dialogue around my experience and observations.

There is a Dari adage that captures the spirit of bring change to the health structures in Afghanistan: "qatra qatra darya mesha" …"drop by drop a river is made."



1. myscribbles - March 26, 2006

Yeah, I agree. Afghanistan has to be helped a great deal before it is able to stand on its own feet. As an Afghan living in Pakistan, I feel very sorry when the international community “pledge millions of dolalrs” but actually realize a very small amount of it. Likewise, I am saddened by the fact that the available donations from the international community can’t be put to use because ministries don’t have good enough projects (administrative incompetency).

But one small thing: It’s “Qatra qatra darya MESHA” not “EMSHA”.


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