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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Reproductive Health in Afghanistan: Moving beyond two decades of war

Suraya Dalil, MD, Currently: Project Officer, Safe Motherhood, UNICEF Afghanistan Country Office. During conference will be student at Harvard Uni, 150-44, 73 Avenue APT 2B, Flushing, New York, NY N.Y. 11367, till Aug. 2004: 0093 70 291462, surayadalil@hotmail.com and Nassim Assefi, MD, USAID/REACH/MSH, House 24, Darulaman Road, Ayub Khan Mina, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Decades of war, gender discrimination by former regimes, poverty, illiteracy, malfunctioning infrastructure, and geographical constraints have contributed to the poor reproductive health status of Afghan women. Maternal Mortality is estimated at 1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births, one of the highest in the world. The Total Fertility Rate is estimated as 6.3, and 72% of married women do not know any method to delay their pregnancy. Health services have been primarily provided by NGOs, creating piecemeal projects and an unequal distribution of services.

The 2-year-old Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan has drafted a National Health Policy which includes the provision of comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services. A National Reproductive Health Strategy released by the Ministry of Health in 2003, with the guidance of donor and technical assistance agencies, will help implement this policy. Developing policies, standards and guidelines is a logical first-step in service expansion, but there is now an urgent need to provide quality reproductive health services throughout Afghanistan. A well-coordinated effort between the MOH, donors, and NGOs is required to continue services where they are functioning and expand services to rural areas. National capacity development – revival of female education and employment, rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, demining, sustainable health financing, and improved security -- are crucial to continued progress. Constant advocacy is necessary to ensure that reproductive health remains on the government’s agenda, and innovative strategies must address the shortage of female health providers in rural areas where women are unwilling or not allowed to see male providers.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Family Planning, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Reproductive Health in Emergency and Conflict Settings

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA