Conflicts & War

Facilitate education, jobs for Afghan women: Kabul hospital head asks Taliban

Kabul, Feb 10 (EFE).- The Taliban government must do more to facilitate education and jobs for Afghan women for the overall development of the crisis-wracked country, says Malalai Faizi, the head of one of the busiest maternity hospitals in Kabul.

Faizi is the first woman the Taliban appointed on Feb.1 as the head of a public institution since they seized power in Kabul on Aug.15 last year.

In an interview with EFE, Faizi said she felt “lucky” to be the Taliban’s first female high-ranked health official in a society where “women are deprived.”

“I am happy that I will get to serve the deprived section of the society,” said the head of the Malalai Maternity Hospital, which welcomes an average of 2,500 babies every month.

Faizi said the scarcity of female doctors badly affected maternal healthcare in the impoverished country battling the vagaries of war.

She noted the lack of awareness among women was one of the prime factors affecting the health of expecting mothers and their children in Afghanistan.

“The society needs women to develop in all fields. I believe that the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban) will appoint more female staff in health and all other fields like economy and education.”

She said female doctors were needed the most for the overall improvement of maternity healthcare since the Afghan culture allowed only women experts to examine women patients.

The country faced a crippling shortage of professional females, and the problem stemmed from “culture restrictions” and the “lack of educational platform for Afghan girls and women,” said the doctor.

She called on the Taliban government to facilitate female education and the working environment in the country.

“I request the government to create opportunities for girls to get education and jobs. Only then, we can produce female doctors and female experts, like trained midwives to help both Afghan women and their families,” said the doctor.

The hospital in the heart of Kabul houses 350 beds and has an overwhelming majority of 421 women staffers out of 442.

The hospital may be the largest and the best in Kabul, but it is still understaffed and under-equipped.

“We treat some 2,500 women patients a month. But the lack of equipment, medicine supplies, staff shortage overcrowd the facility which is a major challenge for us,” the doctor told EFE.

Faizi said maternity hospitals and healthcare “were affected and faced shortages of medicines, staff salaries, and equipment” after the Taliban returned to power last year.

But the situation returned to normal slowly after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed its assistance and supplies in about ten health centers in the Afghan capital. EFE


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