Addressing Critical Knowledge Gaps in Newborn Health

Sadya Naeemi

Sadya Naeemi


Sadya* was the only woman who completed high school in her district. Her community selected her to attend midwifery school. After completing her midwifery education, she wanted to return to her home village to help mothers and newborns and was appointed to her village's health center where there were no permanent midwives stationed. She will complete Continuing Medical Education (CME) School in October 2011.

When Sadya first started working as a midwife in Afghanistan, she faced the challenge of mobilizing the community and breaking old beliefs. To change community behavior and build trust, she provided standard services and privacy at the health facilities as well as prepared one room for health education requiring all women receiving care to also be educated on health and maternity services and the role of the midwife. She even requested that the male doctor explain the role of new midwife at the facility and community to the male clients because many men would not allow their wives to delivery at the health facility.

Sadya works with the vaccination team and Comprehensive Health Services (CHS) providing outreach services once a week such as antenatal care and maternal health education. Despite the cultural challenges of working in the community as a single woman, she is brave to do home visits alone and works in the community supporting mothers.

Through Sadya's efforts for community mobilization, meeting with community health council, individual education for the man and woman at the clinic, and improving conditions at the health center, more pregnant women gradually began accesses health services at the facility resulting in an increase of antenatal care, facility delivery, and postnatal care.

During the last two years, Sadya supported hundreds of women at the health facility and the community. She managed several complications, saved the lives of many women and babies, and provided 24 hours services to the mother and newborn being ready at any time during day and night.

Sadya is a recipient of the ICM Save the Children Every One Midwife Award 2011.

*For security concerns, Sadya's name has been changed.