The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has voiced concern over the rise in maternal mortality during childbirth in Afghanistan, noting that Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the UNFPA report released on Wednesday, August 17, without immediate and long-term efforts for maternal health, there will be 51,000 more maternal deaths by 2025.

Afghanistan has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the region of Asia-Pacific at “638 deaths/100,000 live births.”

Health specialists warned that abrupt cutbacks in foreign aid, a lack of medical staff, mobility constraints, and escalating poverty put Afghanistan at considerable risk of returning to its high maternal death rates.

Donors were providing over $1 billion yearly for the medical sector in Afghanistan, but as soon as the Taliban took back power in August last year, all development aid was cut off.

In remote parts of Afghanistan, where the United Nations estimates that 24,000 women give birth each month, there is a pressing need for access to trained nurses and midwives.

According to statistics, 396 pregnant women in Afghanistan died in 2018 out of 100,000 live births, a considerable decline from previous years, which is almost half of the figures this year.

Access to health care is also impeded by the Taliban’s restrictions on the mobility of women.

This comes as Afghanistan is experiencing the world’s “worst” humanitarian crisis and Afghanistan is at the pinnacle of hunger, poverty, and unemployment.

Author

  • Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).