By Toc Dunlap - Executive Director Creating Hope International
A recent report by “Save the Children” listed Afghanistan as the worst place to be a woman. One reason for this was the very high mortality rate. According to that report, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 11, and the life expectancy of a female in Afghanistan is 45.
AIL continues to reach more people, especially women, through their health education programs. Subjects taught include women’s health, violence against women, reproductive health, first aid, self-immolation, family planning, vaccinations, nutrition and other topics requested by participants.
Additionally, AIL began a pilot program for Expectant Mothers in November, 2010. We are beginning to see the results of this program, and they are very positive. Since the Expectant Mother program workshops started in November 2010:
only 6 mothers from the 37 who attended workshops in November 2010 through February 2011 gave birth at home. The vast majority have had their babies at the clinic or hospital. This is remarkable in a society where home birth is the norm and where today’s mothers were most likely born at home and have mothers themselves or mothers in law who believe home birth the accepted practice as they themselves experienced it. These women have little or no access to women who have had births at clinics or hospitals so they are stepping out of the known in choosing a clinic birth.
Only one stillbirth and one complication were recorded for the 37 women who have had their babies since attending a workshop. This is a rate of 2.7%. The national average is currently recorded by UNFPA for stillbirth as 70 per 1000 live births and by Afghan government as 5.2% in 2010 for neonatal death.
There have been no maternal deaths compared to national rate of 820 deaths per 100,000 births (UNFPA) and as 1.4% by UNICEF
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