On 20 December 2022, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education announced a ban on women attending university with immediate effect until further notice.
EMERGENCY is very concerned about this measure, which, if not removed, will have a long-term negative impact on our medical activities, and seriously affect Afghanistan’s ability to rebuild.
In a country already in the midst of a serious economic and humanitarian crisis, denying education means depriving Afghanistan of a generation of women and girls that can strengthen the economy, public health and stability.
In particular, this measure is likely to have a negative impact on women’s health, since the absence of female medical personnel is already an obstacle to women accessing care. This in a country where the maternal mortality rate is 638 per 100,000 live births (compared to 2 per 100,000 live births in Italy and 7 in the United Kingdom for example).
EMERGENCY runs several specialist training courses, recognised by the Afghan authorities, to train local medical staff, including many women.
Training is not only an immediate response to the health needs of the population, but also a means of supporting the capacity and autonomy that Afghanistan needs going forward.