On Wednesday’s UN World Population Day, the United Nations Population Fund asked the Taliban to allow women access to the health care they need. A UN spokesperson outlined the problem facing Afghan women: “On the one hand, the country is deficient in health facilities for women, while on the other, the Taliban rulers do not allow male doctors to treat female patients.” While health care is the only sector in which women are allowed to work, few women doctors remain in the country and women are banned from obtaining an education which further diminishes women’s access to health care. One of every 100 Afghan women dies in childbirth, and the child mortality rate is 10 percent.
In commemoration of World Population Day, Kofi Annan promoted worldwide access to reproductive health services as a means to achieving the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development. Annan declared, “Enhancing women’s opportunities enables them to make informed choices about family size and to break the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation.”
For more information on the treatment of Afghan women, visit FMF’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan