Publish Date: 22 October 2018
USAID Women in the Economy’s (WIE) Forward Together Scholarship program provides job specific skills development courses which gives beneficiaries practical on-the-job training in demand driven skills in healthcare services. Increasingly the technical skills of graduates from the program are in such demand that women who complete their courses are able to open their own clinics and serve Afghan female patients in need of healthcare. In a conservative country such as Afghanistan, it’s not uncommon for female patients to be unwilling to consult a male practitioner, she will rather go without care. The need for qualified female medical support technicians is dire.
Dr. Shokira from Jalalabad, although a graduate of a local medical faculty, could not find work after graduation; she lacked practical skills. After completing a scholarship ultrasound diagnostic course, many doctors from her area referred their OB/GYN patients to her for critical pregnancy scans and follow up treatment. Realizing the need, she opened her own sonography clinic, where she now sees three to four female patients per day in addition to young children needing scans.
Dr. Najma graduated from the dentistry faculty of Kabul University, but she lacked self-confidence and practical work experience and did not find employment. She enrolled in an advanced dentistry scholarship course in Kabul, which provided practical work experience on patients under the supervision of a mentoring dentist. Wanting to be able to treat women in need of dental care, she later opened her own clinic, where she now offers a full range of dental and orthodontic services to female patients.
“I see several patients per day and I am pleased to offer quality dental services to them. Having my own clinic is all I dreamed it would be,” says Dr. Najma.
Over 1070 young Afghan women throughout Afghanistan have graduated from WIE’s Forward Together Scholarship program. WIE runs the scholarship program through a network of approved training institutes, and courses are based upon actual market demand for practical skills in the healthcare, media, finance, and information technology (IT) sectors.