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BBC News, October 14, 2013

Afghanistan: Stark, beautiful - and a danger to mothers

"The worst place in the world to give birth."

Afghan mothers visit a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province, northeast of Kabul
Afghan mothers visit a health clinic in Eshkashem district of Badakhshan province, northeast of Kabul, April 23, 2008. (Photo: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

Who would ever wish to be pregnant in a place with that kind of danger? But Afghan women living in the remote northern province of Badakhshan have had no other choice. In 2009 we travelled to the villages with the worst ever recorded rate of women dying in childbirth.

At that time in Afghanistan a woman was dying every 27 minutes. Clinics were scarce and there weren't enough trained midwives or birth attendants.

Across large swathes of this starkly beautiful mountainous region, there were no roads or transport. Many women had to travel on foot or on donkey for days to reach a clinic. They still do.

But Afghanistan has made progress when it comes to maternal mortality. For our 100 Women series, I've spoke to Minister of Health Suraya Dalil at Malalai Hospital, the oldest and largest hospital in Kabul. You can see my visit in the short video above.

And to hear more, you can listen to a special edition of Newshour on the BBC World Service - guest-edited on Monday by Chelsea Clinton, who chose maternal mortality as one of her key themes.

Category: Women - Views: 7183