Strong answer to a tough problem: Making Maternity Waiting Homes more effective to save lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan through innovative approaches

Aga Khan Health Services, Afghanistan
Organization Location: 
Kabul, Afghanistan

The provinces of Badakshan and Bamyan have among the highest maternal mortality in the world due to harsh geographic and weather conditions and difficult access to health facilities. The Aga Khan Health Service, Afghanistan (AKHS,A) has introduced Maternity Waiting Homes (MWH) in some facilities to encourage mothers with high-risk pregnancies to stay in these facilities for 2-3 weeks before and after delivery to ensure supervised labor and better neonatal care. AKHS,A, along with other partners, is already running telehealth services in these provinces. The aim of the project is to substantially reduce maternal and newborn mortality in the Badakshan and Bamyan provinces by ensuring births at health facilities, with mothers and newborns properly monitored during the 4-week period around the deliveries. The project will enhance the capacity of health facilities to provide MWH facilities, with increased community awareness about the benefits of deliveries at MWHs. The project aims to convert existing rooms at 10 facilities into MWHs, as well as use Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) to motivate mothers and families, and to support health providers in treatment and referrals. Mothers and caregivers will also be trained in skills for economic growth and creation of market opportunities. Overall this will benefit over 200,000 people in these provinces and service about 20,000 women over three years.

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