Under a heavy shower of rain, in a flooded remote village of Daikundi, 24 year old Khadija was stuck under a collapsed wall with no hope for help. Khadija lived with her two underage kids while her husband was away working in Iran.
Summer is the rainy season in the central highlands in Afghanistan with floods flowing down the mountains and at times sweeping away houses and farm lands.
Daikundi, in the Afghan Central Highlands, is extremely difficult to reach throughout the year due to heavy rain fall in the warm months and heavy snowfall in the winter months and its rugged terrain resulting in the roads being regularly blocked to most of the villages in this area. With limited to no access to neighboring villages and with households that have limited or no access to any health facility, this area has some of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the world.
Back in the village Mr. Ahmad, the UNFPA community health worker was helping communities affected by the heavy rains and floods but concerned for the people that he couldn’t reach. He finally decided to climb a nearby hill to get better phone coverage to get in touch with the mobile health team.
“It was 11:30PM, when I received the call from Ahmad requesting us to help at the village. It took us more than 2 hours to reach the village. We kept checking on houses, in one house that had partially collapsed, we found a woman with one foot stuck under a collapsed wall, with two helpless kids standing by in dismay,” said Mr. Nijati, a nurse deployed by UNFPA in the mobile health team.
After the woman was extracted from the rubble, the mobile health team found her in severe pain, noticing that she was over 37 weeks pregnant. The mobile health team provided treatment for her foot on the spot and quickly transferred her to the provincial hospital where she was admitted to the labor ward.
“I visited the hospital the following day with my colleagues in the mobile health team and found out that Ms. Khadija had given birth to a healthy baby. Both mother and the baby were in good health. We felt happy to have helped two lives to survive.” said Nijati.
UNFPA – the United Nations Population Fund is working with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Afghanistan to provide reproductive health services in remote and underserved areas.
Since 2009 UNFPA has supported MoPH to establish mobile health teams deployed to remote areas to provide basic health services, including Family Health Houses in Afghanistan in an effort to replace mobile health teams with 24/7 basic health service in a maximum of 2 hour walking distance.