Women and children treated
Start of activities
It seemed like a crazy idea, but…
“A Maternity Cente in Afghanistan? You’re crazy!”. We heard this many times when, in 2003, we opened the Anabah Maternity Centre in the Panjshir Valley, northern Afghanistan. Yet the need for a facility like this was, and remains, evident: the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is staggeringly high.
It might have seemed like ‘a crazy idea’ to some, but in the years since it was founded, the Maternity Centre has proven to be a necessary and fundamental facility for maternal-infant health in the area, proved by the over 420,000 clinical visits made, and the over 65,000 children born there.
A unique facility in the region
The Anabah Maternity Centre is the only specialist and completely free facility in a very large area, inhabited by at least 250,000 people. At the Centre, EMERGENCY offers gynaecological, obstetric and neonatal care, and a prenatal care service that allows us to monitor pregnancies and address any issues promptly.
Widespread assistance in the Valley
To increase the scope of our intervention, international and local obstetricians conduct check-ups for pregnant women and follow-ups for infants at the network of First Aid Posts and Primary Healthcare Centres that EMERGENCY manages across the Panjshir Valley.
Training for Women
The importance of the Centre is not just limited to prevention and healthcare: the Anabah Maternity Centre is also a recognised Training Centre for female Afghan staff – over 40 of them at any one time – who work every day alongside international staff, receiving practical and theoretical training. This is testament to our long-term goal to no longer be needed in the future.
The Centre Expands
On 9 December 2016, we inaugurated the new Maternity Centre.
With over 500 deliveries every month, the original facility had become too small to meet the needs of the population. For this reason, we began to build a new block in late 2015, which would have four delivery rooms, two operating theatres, intensive and sub-intensive neonatal care, intensive care for women with complications during childbirth, an outpatient clinic, gynaecology department, an area for follow-up, and another for labour.
In agreement with her family, the new Maternity Centre is dedicated to Valeria Solesin, an EMERGENCY volunteer who was murdered during the Bataclan attack in Paris on 13 November 2015.
For more information
“A Quiet Revolution”
When EMERGENCY built its Maternity Centre in Anabah, it was unthinkable for most local families that their wives and daughters would work side-by-side with international staff. They feared that close contact with international staff would put the honour and reputation of young women working there at risk.
Today, the women who work with us are no longer tolerated as exceptions to the rule but promoters of a real revolution in overcoming traditional roles.