News on Afghanistan primarily focuses on suicide bombings, the insurgency, and the opium production. Less importance is given to the fact that for over thirty years, Afghanistan has faced war, drought, deep poverty and civil instability. Even less attention is given to the crumbling healthcare system and indigenous populations of the country; mainly women and children. Women and children are the most vulnerable population of communities and bear most of the suffering.
According to the CDC, the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is 1600 per 100,000 live births, making it the highest maternal mortality rate reported globally. Depending on their poverty level, some regions of the country showed the rate of 6507 per 100,000 live births, which means they face almost 600 times the risk of dying in childbirth than someone in the US. About 90 percent of maternal deaths in Afghanistan are preventable with simple access to health care, but these women are deprived of such services because they and their communities are too poor.
The most common cause of maternal mortality in Afghanistan is postpartum hemorrhage. PPH is the loss of blood after childbirth in excess of 500 mL. A significant number of PPH cases occur within 24 hours after birth and are due to failure of the uterus to properly contract after the child is born. Without immediate and proper medical attention, this could result in the death of the mother. In order to prevent such scenario, the mother needs access to skilled providers, transport systems and emergency services, which is very extinct in Afghanistan.
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Maternal mortality is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in Afghanistan. Many of these deaths are preventable with access to basic health care services. While most women in wealthier nations celebrate their pregnancy, Afghan women must come into terms with a minimal chance of survival. It is time for developed nations, NGOs, and public health resource as well as capacity building in Afghanistan to greatly prioritize maternal and child health in order to promote family health and, ultimately the development of a health society.