ITM Alumni Webinar – International Women’s Day
07/03 - 30/11/2023

About (many) barriers and (many) babies: on sexual and reproductive health in Afghanistan

Register via Zoom


In light of International Women’s Day, this ITM alumni webinar will focus on the working experience of ITM alumna Dr Séverine Caluwaerts in an MSF maternity hospital in Khost, eastern Afghanistan. During the past 10 years, Séverine has lived and worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist for 6 weeks every year in this maternity.      

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. When MSF first came to Khost province, many women and babies were dying needlessly, simply because they could not get the medical care they needed. Nowadays, 20.000 babies are born in the Khost maternity every year. The hospital is offering real hope to the community in a number of ways, while demonstrating a significant impact on reducing the number of mothers and babies dying during childbirth.

In a new MSF report published on February 6th 2023, “a dysfunctional health system, widespread poverty, and increased restrictions placed on women are at the heart of the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan”.

In this webinar, Séverine will talk about her experience of working in the maternity of Khost, and the services provided to offer quality, free-of-charge care for pregnant women and babies in Khost. She will share her insights on the Sexual and Reproductive Health situation in Afghanistan and on strengthening women’s and children’s rights to access quality healthcare. She will testify about the  importance of the work on the ground and why it is so essential. Current barriers, challenges and way forward will also be addressed during the talk.

The Q&A-session will be moderated by Anteneh Asefa, Research Fellow at the Sexual and Reproductive Health Research Group, and member of the ITM Working Group on Gender and Diversity.


  • Séverine Caluwaerts, Obstetrician-gynecologist, ITM Clinic & MSF, Belgium


  • Anteneh Asefa, Research Fellow, Sexual and Reproductive Health Research Group, Department of Public Health, ITM, Antwerp