IOM and IsDB Sign Agreement to Improve Quality of Maternal and Child Health Care in Rural Afghanistan

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- 12 May 2023 – Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group, IsDB as Trustee of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have signed, today, on the sidelines of the 2023 IsDB Group Annual Meetings, currently underway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the Theme “Partnerships to Find off Crisis”, an Implementation Partner (IP) agreement. The signing event was attended by Senior Representatives from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Member Countries, Implementing Partners, other stakeholders, and guests.

The operation aims to improve maternal and child healthcare in Afghanistan's remote rural areas by constructing 29 Family Health Houses (FHH) in collaboration with the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Afghanistan has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and thousands of Afghan women die every year from preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related complications according to UNFPA.

“All the IP agreements signed today are important, however, this one touches my heart as the project aims to save the lives of our sisters and daughters in Afghanistan,” said H.E. Dr. Muhammed Al Jasser, president of the IsDB Group.

“No woman should die giving birth and our joint efforts can reduce avoidable maternal mortality among Afghan women and girls,” he added.

The AHTF will provide a total of USD 504,000 to IOM to facilitate the construction of FHH. This funding is a contribution of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSreleif) to the AHTF.

The Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA) has also allocated an additional USD 1,514,388.

Under the project, IOM will lead the construction of the 29 Family Health Houses (FHH) in close coordination with the local communities. UNDP will provide solar energy and hot water systems. UNFPA will be training midwives in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) services, and will equip the FHHs with the necessary equipment, medicine, and furniture. To enhance grassroots ownership, the land for the FHHs has been provided by the local community as an in-kind contribution. The construction of the 29 FHHs is expected to be completed within six months.

“Afghanistan is confronting a profound humanitarian crisis, and it is Afghan women and girls, the most vulnerable segment of society, especially in remote rural communities, who are the most impacted. By providing access to essential RMNCAH services in remote rural areas, this project contributes to the overall economic welfare of targeted communities,” said Mohammad J. Alsaati, Special Adviser to the President, IsDB, and Coordinator of AHTF.

“I am very pleased to sign a new cooperation agreement on behalf of IOM with our valued partner, Islamic Development Bank, to strengthen our existing humanitarian alliance worldwide. This life-saving project stands as a milestone for Afghanistan’s health services in the targeted rural areas,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Regional Director for MENA.

“This funding will help thousands of mothers and children access critical healthcare and strengthen IOM’s humanitarian response in the country.” said Maria Moita, IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission.

“In Afghanistan’s remote areas, men can travel some distances to receive much-needed medical services, while many women report not being able to receive regular medical care as their movement is often restricted and these Family Health Houses will provide the much needed care closer to home” she added.

The project aligns with the Global Agenda 2030 as it directly contributes to the progressive achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it mainly targets women of reproductive age (15-49 years), adolescent girls, pregnant women, post-delivery women and newborns. The FHH will also benefit the general population including children (under the age of 5), other women, men, adolescent boys, and elderly.

The AHTF serves as a vehicle to channel humanitarian assistance, address basic needs, promote self-reliance and development in the country, following the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC at its 17th Extraordinary Session held on 19 December 2021 in Islamabad, Pakistan.