Born in 1974 in Kabul, Afghanistan, Miagul Sahar grew up the eldest child in a family of eight siblings. He gained a great deal of experience caring for his brothers and sisters and knew at a young age that when he was older, he wanted to work in pediatrics and with babies.
Miagul’s family did not have enough money to pay school fees for all of their children’s educational needs. Miagul was the only boy in his family to go to high school; his two sisters are illiterate, having received no schooling at all. “I had to walk to school and the road was not good,” Miagul says. “Sometimes it was dangerous and I was afraid. I studied and also worked as a mason to pay for my school. It was very difficult and heavy work for me.”
Miagul’s uncle, who was a doctor, encouraged him to continue his studies at a nursing institute, and his father was very supportive of the idea. Miagul, who was very interested in helping poor, sick people feel better, was eager and soon enrolled in the Ghanzanfar Nursing Institute. He says, “The 12-kilometer journey to the nursing institute by car was a difficult one every day because of security problems.” After three years, Miagul graduated and began work- ing in pediatrics and in neonatal intensive care units in hospitals in Kabul.
In 2009, AMOR Afghanistan Health Organization, a nonprofit based in California, provided funding and support to AMOR Afghan Health, an affiliated nonprofit in Afghanistan, to open a new hospital. Auspiciously, the Afshar Hospital opened in Miagul’s hometown of Omid-e-Sabz, located in the southwest- ern outskirts of Kabul. Miagul has worked in the Afshar Hospital since it opened its doors and currently serves as the hospital’s Nursing Director. He also continues to specialize in neonatal care. “I always want to learn more about neonatal patient care,” he says, “and I want to develop the Neonatal Nursery Department at Afshar Hospital so I can help many more babies to have a good life.”
Though Miagul is humble, it is clear that his skill and diligence save lives. He describes one particularly difficult case: “We admitted a baby with a very critical condition. During my assessment and checking of vital signs, I found the baby did not have a rectal hole. Three times I repeated my check, then I called for the pediatricon-calldoctor.Itoldhimthatthebaby has this problem. He asked me, ‘Really? The baby has this problem, you are sure?’ I told him yes, and then the doctor immediately decided to transfer the baby for surgery. After surgery, the baby got much better.” Of this occasion, Miagul says simply, “it is a good memory for me from my duty.”
Miagul is proud of Afshar Hospital and grateful for the fact that it is a safe and welcoming place. “We do not turn away patients, regardless of their ability to pay,” he says. “At Afshar Hospital, good patient care is always there for very needy people.”
However, the hospital faces many challenges that Miagul must address daily. For example, he says, “There are patients in critical condition who need more help, but unfortunately, due to a lack of equipment and material, we can’t do what we need to and I get upset with the conditions. In these instances, I get upside down inside because of the setbacks and disappointments I face trying to help my patients.”
Regardless of the challenges, Miagul never gives up. At the end of each day of caring for Afshar Hospital’s patients, babies, and staff, Miagul returns home to his wife and their four children—a home they share with Miagul’s mother, five brothers, two sisters, two sisters- in-law, two brothers-in-law, and many nieces and nephews. He says that after a challenging day, “I go home and play with my children to become comforted and happy again.”
When asked his secret to contentment and happiness, Miagul answers, “Do more than talk—act.”