A midwife in Afghanistan: Reunited with friends

Mimansa first worked at the Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) maternity hospital in Kabul years ago. Now she's back, but will the team recognise her?

Mimansa Manheden

After a short stop at MSF’s country headquarters in Kabul, I was driven directly to our hospital in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of the city, arriving at lunchtime.

I got out of the car with my all my luggage.

Then they came, one after the other… my colleagues, friends that I recognised who also recognised me.

I don’t know who was happiest – them or me?!

From their reactions, I could tell that not everyone knew I was coming back. They hadn't been told that I'd been selected to succeed the former head midwife here.

Back in action

It's so amazing to be back!

The project is in full swing and I got straight into it. There was not much time to rest, I’ll get that when I can in future.

The initial project I worked on has really developed – it’s such a pleasure to see – and most of the people who I worked with before are still here now.

The original operation has expanded. When I last left Dasht-e-Barchi, we were helping about 1,100 mothers give birth a month… now it’s about 1,500. However, the need here is still much bigger.

This means that the staff here are working beyond their maximum capacity. But, I never cease to be surprised at their commitment, friendliness and work ethic, carried out under such complex circumstances as there are here.


My friend Aqila is now more mature and is an obvious fit for her role as supervisor of the obstetrics department. We could not stop hugging when we met again and even cried a little, too.

Another friend, Noria, who was part of a midwife college, is now the supervisor of the aftercare department.

Now we are all working together again, and I’m looking forward to it so much. 

I know that our days will accommodate just everything: tears, laughter, anxiety, persistence, thoughtfulness and frustration. It’s just a part of our everyday work – always full of completely unforeseen challenges. But we will cope with them. One by one.

Top image shows Mimansa and Noria working in Dasht-e-Barchi. Photo: Mimansa Madheden