Armed attacks and threats against health workers are jeopardising progress made on reducing the infant mortality rate in Afghanistan (down from 257 per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 129 in 2008, according to the UN Children’s Fund). Nazia, a female health worker in Kandahar Province, told IRIN about the threats she has been receiving to quit her job.
Listen to the audio report in Pashto
“I work in a mother and child health clinic in Kandahar city. Through my work I not only support my five-member family but also serve women and children who are in need of medical care. It is a sacred duty to heal the illnesses of poor people. The medical profession has nothing to do with politics and military issues.
“Unfortunately, I have been threatened by the Taliban to quit my job. They throw warning letters into our house and also call me on the phone, and have threatened to kill me if I continue to work outside.
“They [the insurgents] have proved their cruelty. They assassinated several women in Kandahar. A while ago they killed my colleague, Zargoona, who was also a medical worker. She was very passionate about her work and was always happy to serve pregnant women.
“Who will treat diseased women in this country, if no woman is allowed to work as a doctor or nurse? Many women are already dying from diseases and lack of access to health services. I do not know why they [the insurgents] want women to suffer diseases.
“I also cannot leave my job because it’s the only means of supporting my family. My children will starve if I have no income.
“I do not work as a matter of luxury. I work to serve destitute and needy women and children, and also to support my family. I will continue to work, no matter how serious the threats are.”
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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