Midwives save lives. If the need for midwives is met in Afghanistan, around two thirds of maternal and newborn deaths could be averted.
UNFPA is supporting the training of professional midwives in Afghanistan. Recently, UNFPA realized that due to the pressing needs, trained midwives were immediately deployed to work in the field after graduation. However midwives reported the need to acquire expert advice to manage complicated cases.
To meet this need, UNFPA developed a midwifery toll free helpline available 24/7. The Midwifery helpline provides expert advice on the spot to midwives who can call from remote and underserved areas if they are facing difficulties in managing complicated maternal or newborn cases. Expert counselors help advise the midwives on complicated deliveries, and guide them in routine cases answering technical questions, providing them with mentorship.
The Midwifery Helpline was established in 2016 and has responded to 463 requests between October 2016 and February 2017. Currently, there are 4 functional lines, two gynecologist and two expert midwives providing the support. The vision is to add two newborn specialists to the staff. The midwifery helpline is currently located in Rabia Balkhi Maternity Hospital which is a national maternity hospital at country level managed by MoPH.