AIL provides health education and services to hundreds of thousands of Afghan women and children annually through its local clinics, mobile clinic outreach program, schools and Learning Centers.
AIL has five clinics in Afghanistan: two in Kabul Province and three in Herat Province providing medical treatment, health education to every patient, and reproductive health services many women each month. The clinics treat numerous ailments from colds to injuries and provide vaccinations and reproductive services. AIL’s approach is to interlink health and education programs creating a more pervasive care model, while delivering health services. More in-depth health education workshops are offered through the clinics covering the subjects of reproductive health, school health, and lessons for expectant mothers. These workshops are very popular. AIL disseminates health education wherever possible and so health lessons are given by its teachers and by Community Health Workers (CHWs).
Community Health Worker Program:
Working with the Herat Ministry of Health, AIL runs Community Health Worker (CHW) posts with trained CHWs. Each CHW team has two members, a male and female. They are chosen by each village, work at the village level and need to have some education in some cases, the female members have been educated in AIL centers. The basic training takes several months. After the basic training, the CHWs meet monthly with clinic staff and are given additional training when needed. CHWs refer villagers to the clinics, give first aid, provide contraceptives that have been prescribed through the clinic, work with malnourished children and their mothers and give health education on a number of different topics. The CHW program has been very successful, particularly in the area of health education. The CHWs are the closest to the people in the community and are most likely to know when there is a health situation that needs to be referred to a clinic, even when the patient does not initially seek their help. Since they are trusted, patients are more likely to seek further medical treatment with their recommendation which is a great help in these rural settings.
Expectant Mother Program:
One of AIL’s workshop programs is the Expectant Mother Program where patients are referred to a workshop by a clinic or a Community Health Worker. The workshop takes less than 3-hours on one day and provides expectant mothers and their birth attendants with detailed health education relating to pregnancy, normal and complicated delivery, breastfeeding and high risk factors and signs of problems for mother or baby. The training is aimed at mothers who have limited access to deliver at clinics or hospitals. The goal of the Expectant Mother Program is to reduce maternal and infant injuries and deaths during childbirth and the immediate aftermath through access to information on proper care and encouragement to go to a clinic or hospital for delivery if possible. Following the workshop, a basic delivery kit is given to each pregnant woman and a scarf to each caregiver.