This proposal examines the social, cultural, political and structural factors that contribute to high maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan and women’s severe lack of access to adequate health services and education, particularly in the more rural areas of the country. Some of the factors contributing to high maternal mortality rates are distance, lack of trained female doctors and nurses, lack of access to medical supplies, and Afghan cultural norms that require women to remain in the home and stigmatize being treated by male doctors, who are overwhelmingly represented in the medical profession. High illiteracy rates due to lack of access to education are also related to women’s ability to access proper health services. The violence and stigma surrounding female education in Afghanistan is a major contributing factor to the overall lack of access to education for women. Thus, my proposal seeks to address these issues by expanding upon existing work that the Revolutionary Association for the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has accomplished through the establishment of a Reproductive Health and Education Committee, which would operate under the auspices of RAWA and would have both state and local actors. The main goals of this committee are to improve the overal lquality and accessibility of health services for women in rural provinces of Afghanistan and to increase female representation in the medical professions and female literacy rates, especially in rural areas where illiteracy rates are the highest. The committee would also work to re-brand RAWA as an organization, which has become radicalized in the eyes of many Afghans. It is my sincere belief that the goals of this proposal, if carried out effectively, will succeed in significantly reducing maternal mortality rates and increasing access to health services and education through the empowerment of the Afghan female population.
Abreu, Rosalia, "Reproductive Health for Afghan Women: Decreasing High Maternal Mortality Rates by Increasing Access to Reproductive Health and Education A Proposal for Advocacy and Change". The Trinity Papers (2011 - present) (2011).
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