UNICEF Afghanistan

No child or mother should suffer and die from preventable causes. Yet Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a baby, a child or a mother and access to a hospital or health facility is beyond the reach of most. The country has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and thousands of Afghan women die every year from pregnancy-related causes, a majority of which are easily preventable.

Although present conditions are improving, and many more children are living past infancy, in 2015 more than one in 18 Afghan children died before their first birthday. While this is a significant drop from more than twice that in 1990, far too many families are unnecessarily losing their children, especially during the neonatal period. The majority of these deaths can be prevented with healthy behaviours, timely and adequate care, and treatment.

Children and mothers need access to quality community-based healthcare and comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care at district and provincial hospitals. This is critical in the first days of a child’s life and during a mother’s labour and delivery, particularly for women who have complicated pregnancies.

Up to the age of five, and especially in the first weeks and months of a child’s life, protection against preventable illnesses is critical. Low immunization levels among poor and marginalized children compromise gains made in all other areas of maternal and child health. Read more