Women's healthcare worrying: UNFPA
KABUL (PAN): Reproductive healthcare remains a major challenge for women in Afghanistan due to cultural barriers and lack of proper medical facilities for pregnant women across the country, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said reproductive health problems remained the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide, and Afghanistan was no exception.
“Women who marry early, living in remote areas with limited access to emergency obstetric care, women in low-income groups with malnutrition and high fertility and women with no education are more at risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth.
“These challenges are affecting the entire country and require a multi-sector approach,” said Minister of Public Health Dr. Suraya Dalil, in conjunction with the World Population Day 2012, commemorated on July 11.
Dalil also acknowledged that traditions posed major barriers to women's access to health services, especially in rural areas.
According to an UNFPA statement, despite progresses in the past decade , two-thirds of women still gave birth at home without a midwife or skilled attendant, more than half of the women under the age of 20 had no education and maternal mortality was still unacceptably high.
According to the Afghanistan Mortality Study 2010, the Maternal Mortality Ratio is 327:100,000.
“UNFPA Afghanistan is committed to support Afghan women and men to fulfill their reproductive rights and to address the health inequities between rural and impoverished women and urban area,” said Dr. Laurent Zessler, UNFPA Afghanistan representative.
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