About the Author: Alberto Rodriguez serves as Spokesman at U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
The U.S. Consul General in Peshawar Elizabeth H. Rood and Syed Zahir Ali Shah, Minister of Health for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, inaugurated a new dormitory at the School of Nursing in Mardan on October 12. This 30-place dormitory, constructed with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide a secure residential facility to midwifery students from remote areas, including FATA.
"Throughout the country, some two thirds of women rely on traditional birth attendants or friends and relatives to deliver their babies because they don't have access to trained medical staff," said Ms. Rood while speaking to the students at the school. "This is where you, future community midwives, can make a real difference… you can be the ones to make sure that both mothers and children are healthy -- an important objective of both the Government of Pakistan and the Government of the United States."
Mardan's School of Nursing trains 40 community midwives each year. The USAID-funded dormitory will enable more young women from remote areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, to enroll in the Community Midwife Course provided by the school. This in turn will increase the availability of qualified medical assistance in remote communities.
Support for this dormitory is part of the $7.5 billion in aid that the U.S. Government is providing to Pakistan over five years to improve economic growth, education, health and governance.