10.08.2022 - News

The plight of Afghan women

Almost a year after the Taliban took power, the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan continue to grow at an incredible rate. The Terre des hommes (Tdh) teams on the ground are trying to continue their activities despite the adversities.

Zahar* has just given birth to her ninth child in the Kabul region. Followed by Tdh midwives since the beginning of her pregnancy, she was discharged from hospital only three hours after giving birth due to the overcrowding. On arriving home, the midwives discovered a mother in constant pain and bleeding. After prescribing medication and stopping the bleeding, Zahar and her daughter are safe. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky... What would her chances of survival have been without external intervention? It is difficult to answer this question, but one thing is certain: this is not an isolated case and pregnant women in Afghanistan are under stress and uncertainty about their future and that of their child, which affects their health. 

Today, there is an unprecedented food crisis. According to the UN, 95% of the population does not have enough to eat. An alarming figure. In terms of their health, Afghan women have enormous difficulties in accessing quality care. This situation is even more critical during pregnancy.

The majority of Tdh staff on site are women, which facilitates access to the most at-risk pregnant women in their own homes. Our midwives detect complications and provide direct support when necessary.  This may include food support for the family, financial support to access medicines or care. Aware of the scale of the needs and the need to find a long-term solution, Tdh is determined to protect the many families affected by the situation, in collaboration with other organisations on the spot and with the authorities.

In addition to physical health problems, there are psychological and social worries, of which Ela's* chilling testimony is an example. Pregnant with her eighth child, Ela is experiencing a high-risk pregnancy due to her high blood pressure. The cause of her stress comes from the constant threats of her husband, who has always said he would sell the child if his wife became pregnant again. The family's economic situation is disastrous and the mother-to-be is in fear. She asks the Tdh midwives for help to discuss with her husband and to set up a suitable method of contraception and family conciliation to save her baby. The psychosocial health of the children and their relatives is one of the components of the assistance provided, and it is necessary to support the children in all possible aspects.

«Women and children are the most affected by the crisis in Afghanistan», observes Claudio Rini, Director of Operations at Tdh, on his return from Kabul. «The new government rules are undermining the mobility, participation and life choices of women and, at the same time, those of children.» The long political instability in the country, drought and shortages make the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan one of the most destructive of our time. These problems reinforce the relevance of our actions in the country.

* Names have been changed

Crédits photos: ©Tdh


«My wish is that one day we will live in peace.»

Hazira, a refugee girl living in Albania