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I have been a midwife since 2006, but my exposure to midwifery began before I ever completed my training. I was in the 11th grade when I went to Malalai Hospital with my mother; she was in labour and needed to deliver her baby. We were at the hospital for a day and a night. Whilst there, I watched the midwives work tirelessly to help the women in their care. It was witnessing their hard work that inspired me to choose this as my profession.

I was a mother of three when I decided to become a midwife. I was very excited, but during my second semester I became unhappy with the behaviour of health workers towards clients. I started regretting having selected this profession but decided to finish my education. In the third semester, I encountered a shocking episode. A young mother was pregnant with her third child but suffered from severe pre-eclampsia. At 2pm we were scheduled to inject MgSO4 but the health worker injected it too fast and the mother went into cardiac arrest.

The health worker called for help but they could not save the mother's life. I promised myself to be very kind to patients, and to build the skills required for my profession. There is no regulatory body in Afghanistan which protects women and families by ensuring that safe and competent midwives provide high standards of care. I was very disappointed with the way health care workers interacted with patients.

However, the words of Pashtoon Azfar encouraged me and gave me hope. Leadership and management training has also given me hope and supported my career development. All areas of my life-social, economic, individual, family, and academic-have been positively impacted by my work, and I am convinced that the profession can bring important changes to communities, empower women and save the lives of mothers and babies. I remember the first meeting I attended at the Ministry of Public Health; I couldn't speak because I was so shy.

Now, I can speak in my own voice. I can replicate the voices of other women to be heard by policy makers. I can act as Executive Director of the AMA and OAM. I understand how to lead. I am now proud to be called "midwife".