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    302587

    Teaching women to care for themselves in Afghanistan.

    Yacoobi S

    UN Chronicle. 2005 Dec; [2] p..

    Afghan women have one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. They face many obstacles when it comes to accessing health care: most are rural and do not live close to or cannot access medical facilities, if the need arises. The few existing facilities do not necessarily specialize in obstetric and gynaecological care and cannot always offer quality care. Many Afghan families do not recognize signs of complication during pregnancy and delivery, and may not seek medical attention soon enough to save the lives of mothers and babies. Also ongoing insecurity and cultural norms in the country often keep women from leaving the house to seek urgently needed medical care. Because of cultural pressures, families are reluctant to present women to male doctors, and few female doctors are trained to meet the overwhelming medical needs of women; these conditions constitute a death sentence for thousands of women each year. It is estimated that about 25 per cent of Afghan children die before their fifth birthday from mostly preventable illnesses. The World Health Organization reports that children in Afghanistan are particularly at risk of dying from diarrhoeal diseases that, according to surveys, result in 20 to 40 per cent of all deaths of children under five--an estimated 85,000 children per year. Diarrhoea is also a significant cause of malnutrition, which is a major contributing factor in children's death from other diseases. (excerpt)
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