In this video, this Afghan woman tells about the situation in northern Afghanistan and about kidnappers selling her 2 daughters to crime lords.
From PakTribune in Pakistan:
High birth rate killing young mothers and infants
Monday July 14, 2008
Afghanistan has the highest fertility rate in Asia – 6.7 – which not only means the deaths of thousands of young mothers and infants every year but also poses long-term challenges, an expert of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warned.
Ramesh Penumaka, UNFPA`s country representative, said the average Afghan woman gives birth to 6-7 children and if this trend were to continue Afghanistan`s current estimated population of 26 million would surpass 56 million by 2050. …
High maternal mortality
“That is a staggering 24,000 women dying every year, and 87 percent of them [deaths] are preventable,” Ramesh Penumaka told reporters in Kabul on 14 July.
Lack of access to obstetric and health services, early marriages and multiple short-term pregnancies are the main reasons why about 60 mothers die every day.
UNFPA said birth intervals of at least 36 months would contribute to a considerable reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates.
“Research shows that birth spacing saves lives by allowing mothers to space their children to healthier intervals, improving the lives of women and their children,” UNFPA said. “Access to contraceptives empowers women. It can also save their life.”
Poor health services
Afghanistan’s Public Health Ministry says basic health services reach up to 85 percent of the country, but only 18 percent of deliveries were attended by skilled birth attendants in 2007, UNFPA`s statistics show.
Most pregnant women do not have access to skilled health care and obstetric services due to a lack of awareness, access problems and/or men`s unwillingness to take females to health centres.
“The key to better maternal health lies with the men, who have to be sensitive to the health problems and the needs of women,” Penumaka said.
In a sense, this is true. However, one should acknowledge that not everything depends on the will of Afghan women’s male relatives and/or husbands as individuals who may be benevolent or malevolent. They all live within the framework of a patriarchal society, a society with glaring gaps between a few rich and many very poor, being bloodied by war and occupation. According to this Afghan women’s organization, George W. Bush’s occupation is the main enemy of human, including women’s, rights, in Afghanistan. In spite of anti feminist Bush’s hypocritical “feminist” propaganda about Afghanistan, his war and occupation have made the position of Afghan women in some respects even worse than under the Taliban (supported by the US Reagan-Rumsfeld administration originally).
Consequently many young mothers, who also have little access to health care, nutrition and other services, die due to pregnancy-related complications.
Early marriages also contribute to high infant mortality rates; 165 in every 1,000 infants die before their first birthday, according to UNICEF.