Photo: Mehr News Agency

UN supports Afghanistan’s women in Iran with midwifery and nursing training

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has signed an agreement with Iranian health authorities to provide midwifery and nursing training to women and girls from Afghanistan who are currently residing in Iran.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, announced that the initiative will be led by UNFPA in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNHCR, and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Dujarric quoted UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Stefan Priesner, who called the initiative an important step towards inclusivity and empowerment for those who have been forced to flee their home country.

He added that UNFPA will also provide support services to people in vulnerable situations, including access to reproductive health care and HIV prevention.

Earlier, Iranian Special Representative and Ambassador to Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Qomi announced that Iran had signed an agreement with UNFPA to provide midwifery and nursing training to Afghan women and girls residing in Iran.

Iran is currently the second largest refugee-hosting country in the world, after Turkey. According to Dujarric, Iran is hosting over 3.4 million refugees and displaced persons, including over 1.1 million refugees from Afghanistan.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, tens of thousands of people fled to Iran via the western border to escape retaliation, instability, and economic collapse. According to UNHCR, a total of 1 million people have fled to Iran since the group takeover, resulting in an increase in international protection requirements.

Based on ACAPS data, there are currently 780,000 documented refugees from Afghanistan in Iran, of which 586,000 are passport holders, and 2.6 million are either undocumented or have received a headcount laissez-passer to live in Iran