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Hundreds of women died in childbirth in past year: health ministry

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Hundreds of women died in childbirth in past year: health ministry
(Last Updated On: September 14, 2022)Nearly 600 mothers died while giving birth in the past year, the Ministry of Public Health said on Wednesday, adding however that the maternal mortality rate was lower than the previous year.

Health Minister Qalandar Ebad said one million births took place over the past year, of which 584 births involved the death of the mothers.

He said that a large maternity institute will be established in a bid to lessen the mortality rate.

Currently, there are only two maternity hospitals in Kabul.

“I have come to this hospital from a private hospital and doctors have helped me well,” said Khori Gul, a patient at Rabia Balkhi Maternity Hospital.

“My child was born normally in this hospital and I thank the doctors for their efforts,” said Sarina, another patient.

Medics say high blood pressure, unhealthy foods, a shortage of midwives and bad traditions are the key reasons for the high maternal mortality rate in the country.

Concerns have been raised by health professionals that Afghanistan faces a serious risk of backtracking to its high maternal mortality rates of 20 years ago given the major drop in foreign funding, the shortage of healthcare workers and worsening poverty.

According to World Bank data, more than 1,600 Afghan mothers were dying for every 100,000 live births in 2001.

With strong technical and financial support from donors, the country reduced the rate to about 640 deaths by 2018.

Until the collapse of the former government, foreign donors were spending about $1 billion annually on Afghanistan’s health sector, but all development funding ceased in August, which crippled the country’s donor-dependent public health system.

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