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Maternal Mortality Drops In Afghanistan


Afghan women clad in burqas sit with their children, at the Indira Ghandi Children's Hospital in Kabul Afghanistan.

Between 2002 and 2012, USAID invested more than one billion dollars into improving health care services in Afghanistan.

From the very beginning, one of the U.S. government’s key goals in Afghanistan was to improve the lives of Afghan women.

Under draconian restrictions instituted by the Taliban, women lived in isolation. Girls were not allowed to be educated. Women, even infant girls, could not seek treatment from a male doctor or go to a hospital, and of course, women were not allowed to practice medicine.

Small wonder, then, that women died young in Afghanistan. Ten years ago, an Afghan woman could expect to live 45 years, about two years less than her husband. Her chances of dying in childbirth were the highest in the world—for every 100,000 deliveries, 1,600 Afghan women died.

So, working through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, the U.S. government partnered with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, international organizations such as UNICEF, and Afghan non-governmental organizations to begin delivery of primary health care services in both rural and country settings.

To ensure long-term improvement and sustainability of the health-care system, USAID also began to support training for thousands of doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers. USAID also began to build and support hundreds of health care clinics. Today nearly one million patients per month are treated at one of 540 USAID-sponsored clinics. 76 percent of patients are women and children.

Between 2002 and 2012, USAID invested more than one billion dollars into improving health care services in Afghanistan.




Today, an Afghan woman can look forward to an extra two decades of life. And more than ever before, she is also far more likely to survive pregnancy. The rate of maternal deaths in childbirth has dropped by over 75 percent, from 1,600 to 327 deaths per 100,000 deliveries. And due to prenatal, neonatal and pediatric care, her children are two and a half times more likely to survive past the age of 5.




By supporting the women of Afghanistan, the United States is supporting Afghan families and communities. The United States will continue to support Afghan women, and all Afghan people, as they continue building a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan.
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