Shukria is a midwife and teacher at the French Medical Institute for Children and Mothers in Kabul, Afghanistan. There she aids in the safe delivery of newborns, improving the odds of survival for many of her patients.
“Central to my life has always been a verse in the Holy Quran which addresses itself to the whole of humanity. It says: ‘if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity.’ Quran 5:32” – Shukria Musafirzada
Shukria was raised during wartime in Kabul, Afghanistan and fled to Pakistan as a refugee. When a new government took over in 2004 after the collapse of the Taliban regime, she returned to Afghanistan and started a new life in Kabul. In her early career, Shukria was deeply involved in promoting education among women and girls, even before finishing her own education. Through the support of her family, she began school to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration. However, part way through school, she learned about Afghanistan’s shockingly high maternal mortality rates. This knowledge changed her career path towards medicine and ultimately midwifery.
Shukria began working as a midwife in 2012 in a private hospital and then moved on to the famous Rabia Balkhi government hospital. As one of the only midwives there, she realized what it means to be a frontline worker. Her work is often under challenging conditions, but she accepts her role gladly because she knows she is improving the health and well-being of so many women. Shukria believes that the safe delivery of a child should be a fundamental right for all.
Her career has taken her to the French Medical Institute for Children and Mothers (FMIC) in Kabul, where she is now the head midwife. In her leadership role, she has had to endure seemingly impossible situations. Her hospital has been attacked by terrorists and has had to deliver newborns under gunfire. Her experiences have made her stronger, she feels, and has cemented her belief that midwifery has been the right path. She is now a member of the Afghani Midwives Association and volunteers with the Aga Khan National Council Health Committee. She remains grateful for her chosen path, and is thankful to Allah and her family and mentors who have supported her in becoming someone that helps women in children in Afghanistan.