On August 12, 2018, the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC and the Aga Khan Foundation hosted an event to celebrate the book “A Place of Miracles”, written by Mr. Lee Hilling, former Chairman of the Board for the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children (FMIC).
FMIC is one of Afghanistan’s leading maternal and child hospital and the product of a four-party public private partnership between the Government of Afghanistan, the Government of France, the Aga Khan Development Network and the French NGO, La Chaîne de l’Espoir, with Aga Khan University managing FMIC on behalf of AKDN. “A Place of Miracles” is Mr. Hilling’s memoirs of his time working with AKF to establish the hospital.
The Ambassador welcomed Mr. Hilling to the Embassy and congratulated him for his work and commitment to Afghanistan. Ambassador Mohib shared a few personal reflections about the FMIC, such as his memory of FMIC doctors performing the country’s first operation to separate conjoined twins successfully, in 2015. “This was a huge moment of pride for me,” he said, “and it made me realize the tremendous progress Afghanistan has made, not just in technological advances in healthcare, but more importantly, in the training and skills-building of our people.”
CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation in the US, Mr. Aleem Walji, made opening remarks as well, highlighting some of the achievements of FMIC and also re-affirming the AKF and AKDN’s commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people.
Mr. Lee Hilling gave a presentation about FMIC and how it has transformed the lives of many families by providing high quality healthcare to children throughout Afghanistan. The hospital’s exceptional medical services rank among the best in the region. Since it opened, FMIC has served over 2 million patients, trained over 700 medical professionals and currently, 95% of its employees are Afghan.
Mr. Hilling highlighted advances in the institute such as the new obstetrics and gynecology wing home, and the first neonatal intensive care unit in Afghanistan, adding 52 beds for obstetric and gynecologic care and providing space for 11 new women’s clinics. He assured that, “FMIC is investing in the future of Afghanistan’s healthcare system by providing medical professionals with international standard training and professional development.”
Following his remarks, Ms. Lael Mohib moderated a question and answer session with Mr. Hilling. Ms. Mohib asked Mr. Hilling about his views on lessons learned regarding public health issues in Afghanistan and how FMIC is working with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, as well as about training opportunities for female healthcare professionals at FMIC. Mr. Hilling then took questions from the audience.
To purchase the book “A Place of Miracles” visit this link on Amazon.