The Lancet features Aga Khan Health Services’ Community Midwifery programme

The 20th December edition of The Lancet published the results of its year end photography competition to highlight important health issues.

Amongst the twelve winners was an image of an appliqué wall hanging made in 2008 by the third group of students to attend the Bamyan Community Midwifery School in central Afghanistan.The Lancet features Aga Khan Health Services’ Community Midwifery programme

Stitches to save lives

Gijs Walraven; Aga Khan Development Network, Geneva, Switzerland

This photograph of an appliqué wall hanging tells the story of Lailoma, who died after obstructed labour and a uterine rupture. Without access to a skilled birth attendant, she endured a long journey with poor transport and road infrastructure from her home to a health facility, ultimately losing her life during childbirth. The wall hanging was made in 2008 by the third group of students to attend Bamyan Community Midwifery School in central Afghanistan.

3 years later, the fifth group of students at the school made another wall hanging to tell the story of Sherbano, a Bamyan trained community midwife, and Fatima, who had severe pre-eclampsia.  This time the expectant mother, Fatima was successfully treated at the local health centre by Sherbano, a local midwife trained by the Aga Khan Health Services’ Community Midwifery School.

The Bamyan Community Midwifery School is linked to the provincial hospital and was established in 2004. Since then 132 community midwives have graduated. Deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants in Bamyan province have increased from 37.2% in 2007 to 64.0% in 2013.

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About The Lancet

The Lancet‘s prestigious heritage as one of the world’s leading medical journals continues to inspire our authors and editors today as they strive for medical excellence in all that they publish.

When Thomas Wakley founded The Lancet in 1823, he announced “A lancet can be an arched window to let in the light or it can be a sharp surgical instrument to cut out the dross and I intend to use it in both senses”. This philosophy remains at the heart of the journal today.

The Lancet first appeared on Oct 5, 1823. From the beginning, Wakley’s aim was to entertain, instruct, and reform. It Lancet has been, first and foremost, a reformist medical newspaper known for its campaigns, for example, our focus on child survival in recent years.

The journal was, and remains, independent, without affiliation to a medical or scientific organisation. More than 180 years later, The Lancet is an independent and authoritative voice in global medicine. We seek to publish high-quality clinical trials that will alter medical practice; our commitment to international health ensures that research and analysis from all regions of the world is widely covered.

The Lancet delivers in-depth knowledge in key medical disciplines Between our first online publication in 1996 and today, 1·8 million users have registered at

The Lancet family of journals

Through the 19th and 20th centuries, The Lancet pursued its mission to grow the evidence base that the world’s medical community requires to combat the global burden of disease. Entering the 21st century, The Lancet has launched 9 specialty journals in the fields of oncology, neurology, infectious diseases, respiratory medicine, global health, diabetes and endocrinology, haematology and HIV to allow it to grow that evidence base of clinical medicine further and faster. Full details on each journal including its history, scope and instructions for authors can be found at the following links:


About Aga Khan Health Services

With community health programmes in large geographical areas in Central and South Asia, as well as East Africa, and over 200 health facilities including nine hospitals, the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of the most comprehensive private not-for-profit health care systems in the developing world. Building on the Ismaili Community’s health care efforts in the first half of the 20th century, AKHS now provides primary health care and curative medical care in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Tanzania, and provides technical assistance to government in health service delivery in Kenya, Syria and Tajikistan.


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