Fresh medical faculty graduates in Afghanistan often have problems finding work as they still lack technical skills needed to operate important diagnostic machines such as ultrasound scanners. The lack of qualified staff is especially critical in the conservative region of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. It is difficult for women from this region to avail necessary health services due to a lack of female technicians, particularly in sonography which is crucial for obstetric and gynecological care. Under the Forward Together Scholarship program, USAID: Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE) is working with local medical technology training institutes around the country and providing Afghan women the specialized technical training they need to find jobs in the nation’s healthcare sector.

Born in Logar, and raised in Kandahar, 25 year old Adeba graduated from medical school, yet was unable to find a job in Kandahar due to a lack of practical skills. Realizing the need to further invest in her future, she applied, was accepted, and then completed the six-week ultrasound scholarship course, after which Adeba soon found work at a local healthcare clinic.

“Prior to my appointment, the ultrasound section was virtually non-operational as there existed no female technician or staff to operate the machines,” Adeba says. “Women in our region cannot be treated by male doctors, so as a result, they received no treatment.”

The ultrasound course gave me the exact skills I needed to find a job, make a difference, help women receive healthcare they need, and increase patient turnover in our clinic. Now that I have a full-time job, I am economically independent and able to invest further into my career by enrolling in a Master’s program that I can fund myself.”

Now providing up to ten ultrasound scans for female patients per day, Adeba is providing much needed care to female patients while building her own capacity and confidence in terms of dealing with patients and securing their trust. With the income earned from her job, Adeba is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, and she remains committed to providing healthcare services to women in her community.

Promote: Women in the Economy is a four-year program that provides high value and technical skills development as well as a national internship program with the ultimate goal to place 17,500 women into new or better jobs.