KABUL (Khaama Press): Disturbing reports over consecutive years have indicated a rising trend in maternal and infant mortality rates in Afghanistan.
According to the latest United Nations report, there are 699 recorded deaths per 100,000 childbirths in Afghanistan. The United Nations Coordination Office (UNOCHA), citing Dr. Sahar, the Head of the United Nations Health Department in Afghanistan, emphasizes that the healthcare system in the country has become almost “paralyzed” following the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Dr Sahar said that the forced departure of many female healthcare professionals after the return of the Taliban has created a “gap in the healthcare system” of the country.
She asserts, “If Afghanistan wants to improve access to healthcare for mothers and children, it needs more healthcare workers.” Women have faced various deprivation and restrictions following the Taliban’s return to power. Lack of access to healthcare facilities is one of the deprivations accompanied by devastating consequences.
Some women who have experienced childbirth and sought healthcare in the past two years have complained to Khaama Press News Agency about the lack of specialist personnel and essential facilities. Safiya, a 30-year-old mother of two, went to a health centre for childbirth and said, “I saw many women from remote areas of Afghanistan in that health centre.
The maternity ward was very limited, with too many patients.” She says that due to the neglect and indifference of the staff in that maternity ward, she was “very scared of losing my own life or my child’s.” Safiya adds that in the healthcare centres she visited over the past two years, she has witnessed several women and infants die before her eyes. She calls for establishing accessible and well-equipped healthcare centres for women in every region to prevent maternal and infant mortality. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health of the Taliban, in response to UNOCHA’s report, dismissed it as “baseless” and claimed that “special attention” has been paid to maternal and infant health in the country since the Taliban came to power.
They further stated that preventing maternal mortality is a crucial part of the ministry’s plans, and they intend to establish 150 healthcare centres in the country by the end of this year. This is happening while, according to reports, maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan were 661 per 100,000 individuals as of 2020, which has risen to over a thousand per 100,000 women from 2021 to 2023.