Nearly 900,000 women in Afghanistan give birth each year without any trained help

Tuesday 25 February 2014

(Kabul, Afghanistan) – About two-in-three women in Afghanistan – nearly 900,000 – give birth each year without any trained help. According to new research published today by Save the Children, this results in the deaths of over 30000babies during childbirth or within the first day of life in Afghanistan every year.

“The first moments of a child’s life are the most dangerous, yet too many mothers give birth without any skilled help,” said Paul Barker, country director for Save the Children in Afghanistan. “It’s sad and not acceptable that many of these 30,000 deaths annually in Afghanistan could be averted simply by having someone around to make sure the birth took place safely and knew what to do in a crisis.”

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a mother or baby, with 1-in-34 babies dying during childbirth or on the day of birth. To highlight the importance of this issue, Save the Children will host a roundtable on the implementation of public policies related to newborns, and discuss the importance of prioritizing newborn issues. Together with the Ministry of Public Health, a press conference will also be held on 25th February at CEDAR house.

“The root problem is the lack of health workers to support mothers, especially in the most rural and remote areas where they are needed the most. In some rural areas of Afghanistan, the midwife numbers are as low as one for every 10,000 people,” said Paul Barker.

At the launch of “2013- Newborns Report “CEDAR house” Save the Children presents the state of newborn health and status in Afghanistan. Highlighting the challenges, achievements and improved condition of new born in the country and urging the government in implementing the existing policies.

For further information including interviews with spokespeople please contact

Zubaida Akbar

Zubaida.akbar@savethechildren.org