The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund are supporting nursing colleges across Afghanistan to help train a new generation of female nurses. Set up by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, the colleges are essential as a lack of health facilities in rural areas, combined with a scarcity of female health workers, means that many women do not receive the healthcare they desperately need.
Nursing students in Jalalabad attend a lecture on controlling diarrhoea. In addition to two years of medical training, students at the school receive accommodation, transportation, three meals a day and a nominal living allowance.
An instructor lectures on how to prevent throat and lung infections to young nursing students.
Abida Nowroz, a student at the nursing school, stitches and dresses a cut in a patient’s hand. Nurses are hard to find in her home village in rural Nuristan Province in eastern Afghanistan. In this isolated region, health facilities are limited and security concerns prevent many trained healthcare professionals from working in the area.
This is exactly the kind of basic surgery Abida and her fellow students will be required to perform back in their village clinics.
A nursing student answers a question in a class on controlling diarrhea.
Sumaya, takes notes in a class on controlling diarrhea.
Abida Nowroz, answers a question in a class. While the work is hard, Abida and her classmates know that it is a unique opportunity in a country where young women often are not permitted to live or study away from home. “My parents were very worried about how I could live away from them,” she recalls. “But for months I fought back hard until I convinced my father to give me the green light.”
Abida Nowroz prepares for an assignment on how to perform minor surgery. “I’m here to learn something, so I can serve my village and my country,” Abida explains. “I’m really proud to do this. I try to study as hard as I can.”