Archive for January 19, 2011
By Leslie Mancuso
Feroza Mushtari is a woman of substance. She is helping to bring quality health care to Afghanistan’s women and provide others with the skills to care for new mothers. She personifies the dedication and hands-on work required to rebuild her country.
Among the first graduates of the Jhpiego-supported national Afghan midwifery education program, this 26-year-old midwife is a selfless advocate for the needs of women and families and a stellar example of the young leaders Jhpiego is helping develop in the countries where we work—health care providers with the skills and commitment to provide competent care to their fellow citizens.
Feroza Mushtari embodies the strengths and successes of what the non-profit, international health community calls capacity building, a multi-faceted approach to improved health care service. She started out as a student in Afghanistan’s early midwifery training program, which was designed and supported by Jhpiego. She went on to become a trainer of midwives, a supervisor at a big maternity hospital in Kabul and an active member of the Afghan Midwives Association. Her journey was made possible through the initiative and support of the Afghan Ministry of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and a host of international and local partners.
As conveyed in a recent report in the online magazine, The Daily Beast, Feroza overcame difficult circumstances to fulfill her dream of becoming a midwife. A teenaged Feroza once disguised herself as a young man to escort a pregnant neighbor to the hospital so the woman could receive lifesaving care. At the time, the Taliban prohibited women from traveling without a male escort.
“When you have a feeling in your heart, no one can stop you,” she said. “It’s every woman’s right to have a skilled provider during pregnancy and childbirth.”
I share Feroza’s story with you because she represents thousands of women and men—nurses, midwives, doctors, educators, officials, clinicians and community health workers—around the world who work hard every day to bring competent, skilled health care to their communities.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and dozens of countries in between, Jhpiego is helping develop the capacity of countries to care for themselves and build a family of health care champions from the ground up—strengthening health care delivery for thousands.