International Women’s Day 2013

Mother kissing baby's hand

Montreal NGO working to save mothers in Kabul, Afghanistan

Total number of Afghan civilians killed in the past six years as a result of the conflict – 14,728

Number of Afghan women who died in childbirth over those same six years – over 108,000


Improving Afghan women’s access to medical care is critical to combating the staggering statistics coming out of Afghanistan regarding women’s health. As it stands, an Afghan woman has a one in eight chance of dying in childbirth in her lifetime and the lack of access to basic healthcare is the number one killer of Afghan women.

Health Partners International of Canada’s (HPIC) Afghanistan project is one of Canada’s most significant efforts to help save these women by supporting and reinforcing the capacity of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health’s divisions that have been weakened by decades of war. We are also providing high-quality medications donated by the Canadian pharmaceutical industry directly to seven public hospitals in Kabul, including the largest maternity hospital in the country: Malalai Maternity Hospital.

Malalai Maternity Hospital is in central Kabul and has historically been run by women, for women and, despite having faced incredible operational difficulties in the past 30 years, has never closed its doors to patients. Malalai is a key player in improving Afghanistan’s maternal care as it is one of the country’s largest maternal training facilities, with approximately 2,500 medical staff trained in its center last year alone.

This International Women’s Day the Capacity Building and Access to Medicines (CBAM) Project Director, Maryanne Mutch, will be hosting a small gathering for hospital staff and will be presenting a much-needed multimedia projector to the hospital in honour of their commitment to improving the quality of Afghan women’s lives. The projector will be an important tool for staff trainings.

“Malalai Maternity Hospital is a critical facility that provides life-saving training for OBGYNs, gynecologists, birth attendants and LHVs (Lady Health Visitors) for the whole country. As it is estimated that nine out of 10 rural women deliver at home without a skilled attendant, it is imperative that more birth attendants be trained,” said Mutch.
While working directly with hospitals is a critical element of the CBAM project, the project is also providing capacity building to divisions of the Afghan healthcare system in desperate need of support.

Interview opportunities are available with Montreal and Afghan staff – photos and B roll also available.

5-minute video about HPIC’s CBAM project

For more information please contact: Vanessa Herrick, CBAM Communications Manager
514 445 8519 or 514 822 1112 x 127 / vherrick@hpicanada.ca