"An Afghan woman can expect to have an average 5.1 babies in her lifetime, the highest fertility rate in Asia," Reuters writes in the first of two articles examining childbirth and maternal mortality in Afghanistan. The news service adds that "giving birth a common, and frequent experience -- but mothers say it is too often also hard, lonely and frightening." The article recounts the experiences of several mothers giving birth in hospitals throughout the country (Kearney/Harvey, 12/12).
Afghanistan "remains the most dangerous place in the world for a woman to have a baby, the latest World Health Organization data shows," Reuters writes in a second article. "The figures are distressing, but ... [t]he latest available WHO data, from 2008, shows the number of women who died giving birth had dipped to 1,400 per 100,000 live births from 1,800 in 2000," according to the news service. "The Ministry of Public Health says it has made maternal health a priority, supporting training schemes that have lifted the number of qualified midwives in the country to 3,000 from just 400, and expanding emergency delivery services," according to Reuters (Harvey, 12/12). Reuters also provides a FactBox on maternal mortality in the country (12/12).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.