By Alice Lin Fabiano, Senior Program Officer and Advisor at Johnson & Johnson
Frozan Admadi places her ear on one end of a pinard horn. She holds the other end of the stethoscope on the belly of her pregnant client, smiling as she hears the fetus’ steady heartbeat. Frozan is the only midwife in Marabad, a rural community in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, which is in the southern part of the country and has a population of 17,000.
“There was no full-time midwife here before me,” she recalls. “Some used to come to the village for one or two weeks at a time.”
As one of 3,000 newly trained midwives in Afghanistan, Frozan travels to the homes of pregnant women in her community to check on their health. It’s a routine with a single purpose – to ensure a healthy and safe delivery.
Frozan checks their blood pressure for any indications of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder. She educates her clients about the signs of labor, provides iron pills to ward off anemia, and helps craft birth plans to get to a health facility in time.
“Many women are unable to get to the hospital if they were having problems. I try and treat them in the health center and encourage them to come there to give birth. If I think they are going to have a complicated delivery, I refer them to the provincial hospital so they get there in time.”