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Press TV, April 25, 2007

Afghan women's health crisis

Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world

A UN official has called for outside investment in women's health in Afghanistan to curb high rates of maternal deaths in the war-ravaged country.

- Every 28 minutes a woman dies in Afghanistan during childbirth
- 54 percent of Afghan children are born stunted (6,500 maternal deaths per every 100,000 live births)
- The fertility rate in Afghanistan is the world's second highest at 7.5 children per woman, according to UNDP's 2006 Human Development Report.
IRIN News, Feb. 16, 2007

A United Nations press release says Afghanistan, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, must intensify efforts to improve the health of women and children as part of overall efforts to boost conditions in the country.

The head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, said today in Kabul, "I would like to make a strong call for greater investment in the health and well-being of Afghanistan's women and their families."

In Afghanistan, UNFPA is supporting a national census while seeking to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and foster maternal health, reproductive health and HIV prevention.

On average, one Afghan mother dies for every 60 births, but maternal death rates in some provinces are several times higher, according to UNFPA, which is working with the authorities to train female health personnel to deal with the problem.

RAWA midwives course for women
RAWA midwives course train women who can provide First-Aid in situations where there is no doctor.

"We want to ensure that we can offer a comprehensive package of life-saving health services, including family planning, skilled attendance at birth and access to emergency obstetric care," said Ms. Obaid.

The UNFPA Executive Director, who will meet with senior government officials and representatives of civil society during her stay in the country, said these talks would be a two-way exchange of ideas. "I am here to discuss the development and progress of Afghanistan, but also to listen to the government and civil society to understand better the issues that you are facing."

She said the agency's aim is "to ensure that we can support development for the Afghan people and that they can have a better quality of life throughout."

Category: Women, Children - Views: 9500


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