A Conversation in Afghanistan: Perspectives on International Women’s Day

A Conversation in Afghanistan: Perspectives on International Women’s Day

 

[Dr. Karima, General Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Drug and Therapeutics Committee training course for provincial hospitals]Dr. Karima, General Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Drug and Therapeutics Committee training course for provincial hospitals

 

 

On the eve of the International Women’s Day, the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) Program in Afghanistan had the opening ceremony of the Drug and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) training course for provincial hospitals in Paktya, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, and Badakhshan. The USAID-funded SPS program works with hospitals to establish DTCs, multidisciplinary groups of health professionals whose objective is to design, implement, and monitor strategies to improve rational medical use. Through rational medical use, patients are given medications that not only meet their own individual requirements for a certain period of time, but that also meets their clinical needs and are at the lowest cost to them and their community.

Dr.  Lutfullah Ehsaas, Rational Medicines Use Officer from the SPS Program, spoke with Dr. Karima of the General Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs (GDPA), Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), at the opening ceremony about her perspectives of women’s advancement in Afghanistan.

Dr. Lutfullah: We appreciate the MOPH/GDPA for their strong partnership and collaboration with the MSH/SPS Program in Afghanistan. We thank you for contributing your time as the host for the opening ceremony. Given that there were 35 men and only 1 woman in the audience, what was your experience as announcer?

Dr. Karima: It felt great to be part of this capacity-building program. The thought of being alone among the male dominated audience never crossed my mind because I am an educated woman and am always working with men in my office. However, the participants in this training course are a little bit different compared to other provinces, because they come from areas where very few women are allowed or have a chance to attend school and their future is always controlled by men. I am proud to stand in front of these people as an announcer.

Dr. Lutfullah: How can our society improve the role of women in Afghanistan---to give them more opportunities to speak or be visible?

Dr. Karima: Women in Afghanistan should learn and become literate. They need avenues for education. The government should not only provide women the opportunities to learn, but also enable women to present their capacity to their peers. Women in Afghanistan must find possibilities of employment in governmental offices and nongovernmental organizations to get more experience. I have worked as a government official for the last 23 years and have been fortunate. I suggest conducting a variety of training programs for women to be more educated and better informed.

Dr. Lutfullah: Thank you for sharing your perspectives.

Dr. Karima: Thank you for inviting me to host the opening ceremony of the training course. It is a very good chance for me to continuously improve my capacity. I really appreciate the MSH/SPS Program for collaborating with us and building the staff capacity of the MOPH/GDPA. I have learned a lot from the MSH/SPS Program such as how to design and disseminate health messages and about the importance of hospital DTCs in improving the use of medicines.

Womenhold the top three senior most positions in the MOPH/Afghanistan and GDPA/Afghanistan. The SPS Program is funded by USAID and implemented by MSH. The SPS Program works with Afghanistan partners to establish and maintain a transparent procurement system; increase the availability to safe, effective, and affordable pharmaceuticals; and ensure the quality of pharmaceuticals, particularly in the private sector.

Comments

Health Blog
Places like Afghanistan need more women right than any other place on earth. Very timely discussion.

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