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2nd Annual Afghan Midwives Association (AMA) Congress May 5, 2006

Posted by Linda Barnes in Afghanistan, Midwifery.



On May 1st and 2nd over 200 midwives from across Afghanistan assembled in Kabul for two days of meetings and education. I sensed the excitement of renewing friendships just as I remember from midwife gatherings in the US. Wherever midwives gather the privilege and responsibility of being midwives, being “with women,” is celebrated.


The strides made by the AMA are remarkable. I recall just 2 years ago the early meetings at RBH when Pashtoon Azfar guided a small group of midwives through the initial forging of a “statement of purpose” and Sheena Currie led discussions about the goals of a professional organization.

Now there are 650 local members and a handful of international midwife members from across the US, UK and Europe. The AMA was represented at the 2005 American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) 50th Convention and was recently accepted into full membership in the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

As the AMA weans itself from financial and technical assistance of international NGOs the organization must begin to secure its own funding base and expand its organizational structure. Continuing interest and membership from international professional colleagues will represent the global vision and connectedness. It will also provide part of the needed financing for continued growth and development.

Currently in Afghanistan one woman dies of pregnancy-related complications every 30 minutes, 30% of these deaths from post partum hemorrhage. Of 1.1 million births in Afghanistan yearly, only 12% are attended by a “skilled provider” and 92% of births still occur in the home. There are many initiatives being piloted in Afghanistan designed to address the extraordinary rate of maternal and newborn deaths. Midwives with knowledge and skill are the backbone of saving women’s lives.

It is estimated that Afghanistan needs 10,000 midwives; most of these midwives will be posted in remote locations with little assistance. The AMA is dedicated to increasing quality education and professional standards as well as to provide support and the connection with midwives around the globe.AMA2.jpg

Visit the International Health booth at the ACNM Convention in Salt Lake City; you will find photos from the recent AMA Congress and an opportunity to support the Afghan Midwives Association.






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