In a small village circled by snow-topped mountains in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province, Aziza Rahimi mourns the baby son she lost last year after a harrowing birth with no medical care. Her village is one of several around Bamiyan that have sent 40 young women to train for two years as midwives in the provincial capital. The trainee midwife program has been spearheaded by the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) with a local charity. In Bamiyan’s main city hospital, the trainee midwives learn how to assess and guide pregnant women, deliver babies and provide post-partum care. “At first, I didn’t want to study nursing or to be a midwife, but after I faced problems and pains during my pregnancy, I got a desire to study midwifery,” said a 20-year old trainee, the mother of an 18-month old son.

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