"I'm proud to do this"

Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world. A lack of health facilities in rural areas, combined with a scarcity of female health workers, means that many women don’t receive the healthcare they desperately need.

But women like Abida are set to change this situation. Along with 200 classmates, she will graduate from nursing school this year and will go to work in some of the poorest villages in her home province.

“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.”

The nursing school in Jalalabad is one of six across the country that are training more than 200 nurses. Set up by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health with support from UNDP, the school is training a new generation of female healthcare workers. When the first class graduates, these new nurses will return to some of the most disadvantaged parts of Afghanistan, bringing much needed health care to women in the hardest to reach communities.

“I don’t waste a single day without learning,” says Abida. “I don’t want to see a mother die on the way to a clinic, or see her child become an orphan.”

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