Life in the camps around Kabul is difficult. It is hard to keep the family fed, especially when there are 9 or 10 children. The girls marry as very young teenagers and have their first babies before their bodies are fully mature. These camps have the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Many men and women want to limit the number of children they have, but they do not know how to go about this and they worry that contraception is contrary to their religion. Child birth is a woman’s preserve and the topic is not discussed by men. Thanks to a $100,000 grant to Rose Charities we have partnered with Tabish to start a family planning program in 3 camps in Kabul. The program works with 600 families and aims to increase knowledge about family planning and use of contraception. Our strategy is to hold group discussions with the men and provide mid-wife services to the women. The group meetings are attended by the trusted local Imams, who explain family planning within the context of Islam. The midwives provide anti natal classes, safe delivery kits and post natal and family planning advise. They also train the local traditional birth attendants in hygiene, and safe birthing techniques.
We are happy to report that the program is being very well received. We conducted a base-line study before the program and can report significant increases in knowledge about family planning, use of contraception, and many successful births.