Life improves for Afghan mothers

2012-05-08 20:08
Kabul - Better healthcare and more girls attending school have knocked Afghanistan from its position as the worst place on earth to be a mother, Save the Children said in a major report on Tuesday, but stressed the precarious nature of any gains.

"More mothers are surviving and fewer children are dying and this is something we need to be celebrating," said Rachel Maranto, Advocacy and Mobilisation senior Manager at Save the Children in Kabul.

Afghanistan switched places with Niger in western Africa in Save the Children's 'Mothers' Index', which fell back to bottom place, a spot Afghanistan occupied for the past two years.

This was partly achieved by the number of births attended by trained professionals in Afghanistan rising from 14% to 24% between 2003 and 2008, and girls in formal education, which has gone from zero in 2001 to 2.5 million today.

Afghan women have won back hard-fought rights in education, voting and work since the five-year austere rule of the Taliban was toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001.

But their plight remains severe and Maranto warned that such gains are "fragile".

More needs to be done

Foreign aid accounts for more than 80% of Afghanistan's annual state budget of roughly $5bn, and that is set to dramatically fall as foreign combat troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.

Rick Manning, medical director at Cure International's hospital in Kabul, said there were "encouraging signs" that life for mothers and children was improving, but warned: "It's more complicated than just spending money. It's getting the right people here to make sure the money is used correctly."

In a neonatal intensive care unit run by the non-profit Cure - one of only five in the country - Manning surveyed the row of incubators where tiny babies born prematurely were sleeping.

"About every infant who comes in here would have died if they were not admitted here. So a lot more of these care units need to be made, staffed, housed. A lot more needs to be done."

During the rule of the Taliban, women were denied access to general hospitals from 1998 and not allowed out of their homes without a male relative or their husband, meaning their health deteriorated and the child mortality rate shot up.

For Halima, whose 18-month-old son Hamid is recovering from a free of charge cleft lip operation at Cure, one of almost 3 000 it has performed since opening in 2005, life has definitely improved.

Huge divide


"This simply would have not been possible during the time of the Taliban," said the illiterate mother from a village in central Bamiyan province.

Maranto said Afghanistan is haunted by the huge divide between urban centres, where women have more access to healthcare and education, and the rural areas, where life carries on much as it did during the time of the Taliban.

As a result, Afghanistan suffers from widespread malnutrition, which leads to 60% of Afghan children being affected by stunting, and 275 children die every day in the country of 30 million, Save the Children said in its report.

"There are many women and many mothers who may never be able to see a doctor or a nurse or any kind of trained health worker in their lifetime," said Maranto.

Read more on:    afghanistan  |  niger  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/World

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mobile Developers

Cape Town
E-Merge IT Recruitment
R300 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Front End Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R20 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Call Centre Agents

Cape Town
Teleresources Cape Town

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an emphasis on work. There may be some restrictions, or delays or extra responsibilities. It is all about rhythm and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.