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The shortage of female physiotherapists is a significant issue in Afghanistan. This is primarily attributed to restrictions on women’s access to work and education during the Taliban regime, leading to a substantial decline in the number of female healthcare workers. In a country like Afghanistan, where many people grapple with disabilities resulting from a prolonged war, this challenge is of particular concern. The accessibility of physiotherapy can play a role in alleviating physical injuries and disability.

Now, 16 newly trained female physiotherapists have graduated through our health programs. They are ready to provide quality physiotherapy services to the local community. The services will target, amongst others issues, muscle and joint pain, as well as physical injuries.


High Demand for Physiotherapy

Lima Akbari is one of the graduates, harboring a long-standing desire to work in physiotherapy. She emphasizes the profession’s significance in Afghanistan:

“Many Afghans struggle with physical injuries, limited mobility, and disability as a result of the prolonged warfare in Afghanistan. That’s why I want to work in physiotherapy and help my people.”

Haji Sarwar, a resident of Ghazni province, expresses his delight as his daughter is among the graduates from the health programs of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee. Haji is thrilled that such educational opportunities exist for both boys and girls in physiotherapy:

“The Norwegian Afghanistan Committee assisted our girls with educational opportunities when we desperately needed female healthcare workers. In Ghazni city, there was not a single female physiotherapist present to treat female patients dealing with physical disabilities. This is crucial!”


A Holistic Approach to Health

Now, the educational journey begins for a new group of students. A total of 115 students distributed across four provinces (Jalalabad, Kapisa, Khost, and Pakthia) embarks on midwifery education. Furthermore, 115 students commence their path in nursing in the same provinces. In Kapisa and Pakthia, a total of 50 new students are ready to delve into physiotherapy. In Gardez, 30 students are prepared to commence their studies in pharmacy. This marks the start of a new phase for future healthcare professionals.

The Norwegian Afghanistan Committee has particularly focused on establishing health centers in hard-to-reach areas, remote areas of the provinces that are challenging to access. This is a significant step forward, not only for the position of women in the Afghan society, but also for healthcare services in Afghanistan. It underscores the importance of offering educational opportunities to both women and men. Furthermore, it highlights the significance of having female healthcare workers available to meet the needs of female patients.