Photo: MSF Afghanistan

MSF: The Taliban should immediately reschedule exit exams for female medical students

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan has called on the Taliban to set a new date for female medical students to sit their exit exams. 

On 13 February, the Taliban postponed exit exams for female medical students indefinitely. Male students sat their exams on 18 February as scheduled. 

MSF Afghanistan said on Monday that “Lack of healthcare workers is already impacting the availability of medical services within the country. Allowing women access to secondary and tertiary levels education is vital for ensuring that people’s medical needs are attended to in the future.”

“We already find it challenging to fill all necessary medical positions in our facilities, including for female doctors and gynaecologists, who are extremely scarce in Afghanistan. We need more female doctors, not fewer.

“Strengthening Afghanistan’s under-resourced and over-burdened public health system also requires women to have freedom of movement and the right to work for NGOs. Access to health care and education must be available to everyone.”

The UNICEF said on Monday that despite pressures, the Afghan health care system hadn’t collapsed because of support from international aid agencies.

Before the decision to cancel exit exams for female students, the Taliban had already implemented several restrictions on women’s education and employment opportunities. These restrictions included banning girls from pursuing education beyond secondary school and prohibiting women from attending universities or working in most professions.