Afghan mothers, children, dying

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

After Sierra Leone, Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world with at least 1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UNFPA and the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF).

“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).

Early marriages

Up to 50 percent of Afghan girls get married before they are 15; some are married at the age of eight, UNFPA has found.

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.

See also here. And here.

3 thoughts on “Afghan mothers, children, dying

  1. Monday, 28 July 2008 10:26 UK

    Sackings over Afghan ‘child rape’

    The police chief of the northern Afghan province of Saripul has been dismissed over the handling of an alleged gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl.

    An interior ministry official told the BBC that police chief Abdul Khaliq Samimy and four other security officials were sacked for negligence.

    He said President Hamid Karzai had personally ordered the sackings.

    The girl’s parents met Mr Karzai last week and told him the police had refused to investigate the case.

    The meeting took place when the family travelled to Kabul to publicise what had happened.

    The girl told journalists that five gunmen had raped her in the village of Baghabi.

    The girl’s uncle is reported as saying that police refused to investigate the case and had told the family not to talk about the matter.

    An interior ministry official, who would not be named, told the BBC the security officials “have been dismissed for their negligence and failures in their jobs. The ministry of interior will not tolerate any such incidents at any level.”

    Correspondents say that in many areas of northern Afghanistan victims of rape have little chance of getting justice.


  2. Pingback: Bush/Obama’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, horror for women, leniency for torturers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: New York Times regrets its Afghan warmongering | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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