Concerns Arise over Maternal Mortality in Afghanistan

Politicians, economists and activists gathered at the Bonn Conference in early December expressed concerns regarding the impact of the withdrawal of th US on maternal mortality. Sarah Pickworth, a public health specialist in Afghanistan stated, “The greatest risk at present is through aid levels dropping off precipitously. Without sufficient funding, there is likely to be a significantly slower pace of change. This risks losing the momentum of the tremendous gains made.” By 2014, Afghanistan will face a $7 billion deficit, which could negatively impact the availability of services for pregnant women and infants.

According to Reuters, Herat’s Institute of Health Sciences (HIS) has trained over 250 midwives since 2005. Moreover, over the past five years, maternal and infant mortality has declined dramatically in Afghanistan. According to the research, there are “500 deaths per 100,000 live births,” as compared to 2005 when 1,800 women died per every 100,000 births, according to a UN study.

The Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS) 2010, sponsored by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the US Government, and the British Department for International Development, notes that “Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a pregnant woman or a young child,” with one out of every ten children dying before reaching their fifth birthday. Moreover, Afghan women are 200 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than from bombings or bullets.


National Partnership for Women and Families 12/14/11; Reuters 12/12/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/5/11

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