"As an MSI Lady, I’m achieving my dream of helping women in my community"
For over twenty years, MSI has provided life-saving services in Afghanistan, reaching over 380,000 clients yearly with women’s healthcare, including maternal health and family planning services.
In Afghanistan, women can face challenges in accessing healthcare. Women are required to have a male chaperone to leave their homes and can be unable to access services delivered by male providers. That’s why, MSI Afghanistan has built a team of MSI Ladies - female providers who deliver services to women in the comfort of their own homes.
One of these female providers is Haya. Working in women’s healthcare was something that Haya had dreamed of since she was a child. “In Afghanistan, women can feel restricted in what they can share on their health and relationships with male doctors, so as a woman, I wanted to help these women, particularly vulnerable women, with no other access,” Haya shared.
Now, Haya, aged 26, has trained as a midwife and worked as an MSI Lady for the past six years in a rural region of a Northern province in Afghanistan. Every day, Haya walks from door to door in her local community delivering services and building awareness of women’s healthcare options. “As a community member, I have known the local families and community leaders for many years and understand their cultural expectations and concerns. I’m in a good position to talk with husbands and leaders about the services available, addressing any concerns they have, while sharing the benefits of family planning for local families and our local community,” Haya shared.
As a community member, I’m in a good position to talk with husbands and leaders about the services available, addressing any concerns and sharing the benefits for families and communities.
Haya’s work to build awareness with her neighbours and local families has had a ripple effect: “We find we have lots of regular clients, but also clients who recommend their families and neighbours too. A recent client who was seeking contraception had been recommended by a family member. She was married with existing children, but she and her husband wanted to have a break before their next child, so attended our clinic for the contraceptive injection, free of charge.”
Haya’s work can be physically and emotionally challenging, walking from service to service each day and often navigating complex conversations on cultural expectations, but the impact she has seen for women in her community makes it all worthwhile: “As an MSI Lady, I’m achieving my dream of helping women in my community – with the information and services that my colleagues and I provide, women can make choices about their healthcare and their futures.”
As an MSI Lady, I’m achieving my dream of helping women in my community – with the information and services that my colleagues and I provide, women can make choices about their healthcare and their futures.