Why Do We Work in Afghanistan?

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 – every thirty minutes another Afghan woman dies during childbirth, one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. 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, is made worse by the social and historical realities facing the country. Decades of war and instability have devastated Afghanistan’s health care infrastructure. Women were banned from receiving treatment from male doctors under Taliban rule, and with few female doctors in the country, many illnesses were left untreated and births were largely done in the home with no skilled attendants present. Further compounding the problem are practices such as early marriage and lack of female education and literacy. Conditions for women have started to improve over the last decade, but there remains an acute need for targeted support in training medical personnel (especially women) and treating women who suffer from this debilitating injury.

What You Help Us Do in Afghanistan

We’re helping fund:

  • Fistula surgeries
  • Surgeon training
  • Community outreach
  • Capacity building


Cure International Hospital, Kabul

How much funding have we granted?

$52,000 in FY2016
$195,162 in FY2015
$375,851 in FY2014
$144,549 in FY2013
$38,068 in FY2012
$110,480 in FY2011
$64,975 in FY2010
$135,274 in FY2009

Who is our partner?

We provide grant support directly to this hospital.

How will this help women in Afghanistan?

We’ve helped fund Cure’s 18-month fellowship training program for female surgeons in obstetrics and gynecology, a program that enabled five graduates to receive advanced fistula training. Those five women are now on staff at Cure International Hospital in Kabul, increasing the hospital’s capacity to treat even more women. Cure reported that they are on track to provide more fistula surgeries in 2016 than they have in any of the previous 10 years, and we are delighted to be their main funder for 123 free surgeries.

In addition to funding surgeries, support from Fistula Foundation donors has funded a workshop for midwives, vital equipment upgrades, and patient outreach materials, such as educational brochures and TV/radio announcements.

In 2012, we funded the construction of a new roof on the operating theater after it sustained significant damage during a particularly harsh winter the year before. In 2016, funding supported the training of 10 healthcare providers and 5 surgeons.

Where is Afghanistan?


Facts About Afghanistan

  • Population:33,332,025
  • Average births per woman:5.22
  • Physicians per 10,000 people:2.7
  • Births attended by skilled personnel:36.3%
  • Lifetime risk of maternal death:1 in 52(chances a woman will die during childbirth)
  • Female life expectancy:52.7 years
  • Female literacy:24.2%
  • Population living in rural areas:74.3%
  • Population living in poverty:36%(less than $1.25/day)
  • Surgeries completed through Fistula Foundation funding to date:493

Sources: CIA World Fact Book; WHO, World Bank

We’re Making a Difference in Afghanistan

Meet Laila from Afghanistan

As a child bride in Afghanistan, Laila developed a fistula before her 12th birthday. Today, after receiving free treatment at Cure International Hospital, she feels as if she has been given life again.

Surgeon Spotlight: Dr. Farzana Wali Jebran

Dr. Farzana Wali Jebran is a fistula surgeon at CURE International Hospital of Kabul and director of its OBGYN fellowship training program. The youngest of seven children, Dr. Jebran’s parents strongly emphasized the importance of education as they grew up in Afghanistan. When she completed secondary school, Dr. Jebran made the decision to attend medical…

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