Written By: Tabasum Nasiry
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced the training of nearly ten thousand midwives and health workers in maternal and infant health, as Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rates in Asia.
UNICEF, on Monday, February 5th, stated in a message on its social media platform X that most mothers in Afghanistan face deficiencies in iron and folic acid. It also mentioned providing health and nutrition services to over 7.3 million people in 2023.
Semeen Alami, one of the midwives at a health center, says that with the increasing number of visitors, they are facing a shortage of female staff in the health sector.
According to Ms. Alami, most women who visit health centers do not have proper nutrition and suffer from iron deficiency.
According to the World Health Organization report, Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rates among Asian countries. A significant percentage of these illnesses leading to maternal death are described as preventable. This means that simply the lack of access for women to Afghan health centers has turned the country into one with the highest maternal mortality rates.
Additionally, Nahid Seddeqi, a midwife in Kabul, speaking to Khaama Press, said that education for midwives and nurses is essential in current circumstances. She added that society now more than ever needs midwives and nurses.
Ms. Seddeqi adds that many factors contribute to maternal mortality in the country, the main ones being improper nutrition, lack of spacing between pregnancies, and failure to consult a doctor.
According to Ms. Seddeqi, “Attention to proper maternal nutrition is very important for a mother to establish a proper dietary routine for herself and provide necessary nutrients for herself and her child.”
Furthermore, PassBlue, a non-profit media outlet, reported on the increase in maternal mortality due to a lack of access to health centers, emphasizing a wide range of economic, social, and political factors alongside the shortage of medical equipment in hospitals and health centers threatening maternal life in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund has expressed concern about the situation of pregnant women in Afghanistan, stating that out of every 100,000 births, 638 mothers lose their lives during childbirth.
This comes as concerns about women’s lack of access to health centers, increasing maternal mortality, and shortages of health personnel due to restrictions on girls’ education in Afghanistan after the rise of the Islamic Emirate have been raised continuously.