“In many areas in Afghanistan, men don´t allow their women to go to clinics for check-ups or other health issues when they are pregnant, but the Birth Life Saving Skills (BliSS) programme is slowly bringing a change to their thinking.
BliSS teaches women how to look after themselves and others during pregnancy, how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth as well as how to recognise early signs of problems in the pregnancy or with a new-born baby. But the programme also recognises the need to teach the same things to men in the communities, since their permission and support are essential in making it possible for their wives and female relatives to change the way they have traditionally dealt with prenatal and postnatal care. Through the BliSS programme, many Afghan men are becoming more aware of the special needs and potential problems women have during pregnancy and after delivery.
Ali*, one of the men from the Mazar BliSS group, went home one day and saw that his brother‘s wife, who was pregnant, was not well. He asked his mother what was wrong and learned that his brother‘s wife was bleeding and becoming very weak.
“I have learned from BliSS lessons that bleeding during pregnancy is dangerous,” Ali explained. “So, I told my mother to give her liquid like water, juice or soup because liquid can help the pregnant mother to regain some strength and can keep her alive.”
While his mother gave his brother’s wife some fluids to drink, Ali fetched a taxi. “We took her immediately to hospital, and the baby was born healthy. Both mother and baby are healthy,” he reported. “We are so thankful for the lessons I learnt in BliSS that made it possible for me to give good advice to save my sister-in-law!”