NZAID Funding Of Bamyan Hospital Maternity Ward
Work has begun on building a New Zealand-funded maternity ward in the local hospital in Bamyan, Afghanistan where the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team is based.
Team members recently attended a ‘ground breaking’ ceremony at the hospital, which signified the beginning of construction of the maternity ward, funded by NZAID, New Zealand’s international aid and development agency
Lieutenant Nicholas Millward lays the stone foundation of the hospital while Group Captain John Duxfield and officials look on.
Group Captain John Duxfield, Senior National Officer, represented the NZ PRT while Lieutenant Nicholas Millward, RNZN, participated in the symbolic laying of stones. Group Captain Duxfield said, “This maternity ward is an important addition to Bamyan which has the highest mortality rate in Afghanistan of both newborns and their mothers”. The ward is scheduled to take six months to complete and will house two labour rooms, five rooms each with two beds, a bathroom unit and an office.
Governor Sorabi and local officials attended the official opening ceremony and praised the efforts of the New Zealanders and New Zealand Aid.
Acting Director of NZAID, Don Clarke said, “NZAID remains committed to helping Afghanistan get back on its feet. We have made Bamyan province a focus of this work and with this project, and others such as the developing rural livelihoods and human rights projects based in the community, New Zealand is really making a difference.”
Lieutenant Millward said, “Current facilities at Bamyan were extremely limited in their capacity to support all aspects of pregnancy. This project will help to promote obstetric services while encouraging women to use ante-natal services throughout their pregnancy, and ultimately to give birth in the centre. It seeks to actively reduce deaths, while increasing the hospital’s capacity to look after women”.
Lieutenant Millward has been the driving force behind this project and has liased closely with the hospital to get it underway.
New Zealand – Significant Operations
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has maintained a very high level of operational tempo over the past year that has seen the NZDF committed to traditional peace support operations and the international war on terror. New Zealand’s largest contribution is in Afghanistan where there are 122 NZDF personnel located at Bamyan. Another eight NZDF personnel are located in Kabul (7) and Bagram (1).
The PRT assists with security and stability in Bamyan Province. The PRT also facilitates various projects dealing with capacity building for local government and security institutions, engineering projects such as school refurbishments, repairing key infrastructure such as roads and bridges, to conducting health programmes in surrounding villages.
International and regional security trends indicate that the professional expertise of the NZDF will continue to be a vital requirement for supporting New Zealand’s credibility as a good international citizen through its support of the United Nations and the rule of international law.
NZAID in Afghanistan
Since June 2001 NZAID has spent nearly $15 million in Afghanistan. $5 million is allocated for the 05/06 financial year.
Priorities include preparations towards free, fair, and secure elections. Additional work in Afghanistan focussed on education, governance, and rural livelihoods.
Much of this funding has been allocated for reconstruction through the NZDF, to assist security sector reform and rehabilitate local government facilities and infrastructure, but also includes funding to UN agencies and local counterparts.
A focus of New Zealand's work in Afghanistan has been Bamyan province, where the NZ PRT team is deployed.
Other key NZAID initiatives in Afghanistan
• Electoral Assistance: $2.5 million to UN in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior, focussing on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), and electoral registration.
• Human Rights: $500 000 for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), to enable delivery of core rights protection and promotion activities.