CEO Update  Honoring Nick Kristof, a Trusted Voice for Fistula Awareness   Read Now

Afghanistan

Against a backdrop of violence, a heroic team of all-female surgeons in Afghanistan are delivering life-changing surgeries to women in need.

August 31, 2021 - CEO Afghanistan Update   Our Partners in Kabul Persist in Delivering Life-Changing Care   Read Now

Why We Work in Afghanistan

8/31/2021: An update from CEO Kate Grant about our partner in Afghanistan. Read the full letter here. 

Afghanistan has been deemed one of “the worst places in the world to give birth.” Delivering a baby here can be a life or death event. With only 50% of births attended by a skilled medical professional, Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Every thirty minutes another Afghan woman dies during childbirth, and for every woman who dies, it is estimated that 20 more survive with significant injuries, such as obstetric fistula.

The threat to women’s health—and maternal health in particular—have been made worse by the country’s social and political realities. Decades of war and instability have devastated Afghanistan’s health care infrastructure.  Moreover, in Afghan culture, it is widely considered improper for a woman to be treated by a male doctor. If there are no female doctors available, she may receive no treatment at all. For a woman with fistula, this could mean living in misery for the rest of her life. Practices such as early marriage and a lack of female education—only 24% of women are able to read and write—further undermine women’s ability to access care.

While conditions for women have started to improve in recent years, there remains an acute need to build the healthcare capacity for fistula treatment. Training female surgeons and other medical staff is critical to the success of any long-term solution.

What You Help Us Do

We are investing in the following areas to build Afghanistan’s in-country medical services and provide life-transforming surgery to as many women as possible:

Meet Our Partners

We identify local surgical teams in Afghanistan already successfully treating women with fistula—and then work to amplify their efforts. 

How much funding have we granted?

Below are funding totals since the start of each partnership.

Current Partners

  • Cure Hospital, a Be Team International Facility: $2,500,463

News from the Field

A Sliver of Light Amid Dark Days in Afghanistan  •  August 17, 2021
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Letter from CEO Kate Grant: Like you, I’ve been engrossed in and troubled by the news and images coming out of Afghanistan this week. Our community has a deep tie to...
Letter from CEO Kate Grant: Like you, I’ve been engrossed in and troubled by the news and images coming out of Afghanistan this week. Our community has a deep tie to the country. The stakes are high for all Afghans, but I’m particularly concerned for the many vulnerable women with fistula whom we serve, with your support. One of our longest and most enduring relationships is with Cure Hospital, in the capital city of Kabul, home to our female fistula surgery team. Our first thoughts were about how the Taliban takeover of the city and the chaos unfolding in the streets would impact the team at Cure. Many unknowns remain, but please be assured I plan to keep you updated on our partner’s safety and work in the days ahead. 
In Afghanistan, Fistula Experts Train More Than 140 Healthcare Workers  •  January 27, 2021
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Despite a challenging year, our partners in Afghanistan have been steadfast in their efforts to expand fistula care throughout the country. In the final months of 2020, experts from Fistula...
Despite a challenging year, our partners in Afghanistan have been steadfast in their efforts to expand fistula care throughout the country. In the final months of 2020, experts from Fistula Foundation’s trusted partner—Cure Hospital, a Be Team International facility in the capital city of Kabul—traveled to visit rural outposts in multiple isolated provinces. Amidst travel complications and security concerns, our partners successfully completed their mission: to train scores of rural health care workers in the signs and symptoms of obstetric fistula. These newly-trained workers are now equipped to identify women with fistula in their isolated communities, and send them to Cure’s main hospital in Kabul for treatment.
Campaign for Afghanistan - You Did It!  •  November 15, 2018
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You helped raise over $200,000 for women in need. You are changing lives! Thanks to over 300 kindhearted supporters like you, we fulfilled our $200,000 pledge to support vital fistula...
You helped raise over $200,000 for women in need. You are changing lives! Thanks to over 300 kindhearted supporters like you, we fulfilled our $200,000 pledge to support vital fistula care in Afghanistan. Because of your compassion, CURE International’s dynamic, all-female fistula team can continue their critical work, filling an acute need for more female doctors in Afghanistan. “I would like to express my gratitude to Fistula Foundation donors for their continuous support of our patients. Without their help, we are not able to serve these unfortunate mothers.” — Dr. Sofia Hail, lead fistula surgeon We would also like to extend a special thanks to our anonymous challenge donors, who matched $100,000 in gifts to the campaign. We couldn’t have kept this promise to CURE International without you!        
Out of the Margins #4 - Afghanistan's fierce, female fistula surgeons  •  February 22, 2018
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A team of fierce, all-female fistula surgeons are taking a stand in Kabul, Afghanistan. There is an acute need for female doctors in Afghanistan. Cultural norms often prevent women from...
A team of fierce, all-female fistula surgeons are taking a stand in Kabul, Afghanistan. There is an acute need for female doctors in Afghanistan. Cultural norms often prevent women from seeing male physicians, and it is common for a woman to go untreated unless she can see a female doctor. The all-female fistula team at CURE International Hospital is stepping up to meet this need. Five OB/GYN fellows are in training at all times—women training women.

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