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Afghanistan Rejects WHO Report on Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates

The Ministry of Public Health has rejected the recent World Health Organization (WHO) numbers on maternal and infant mortality in Afghanistan, stating that in the first five months of the current year, only about 300 mothers and 4,000 infants have died across the country.

Sharafat Zaman Amarkhil, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said that 350 health centers have been established in the past two years to provide healthcare services to all citizens, especially mothers and infants.

Amarkhil told TOLOnews: "The figures available to the Ministry of Health of the Islamic Emirate differ significantly from these numbers. Based on our data, we reject the WHO report and the shared information, considering them far from reality. According to the data shared with the Ministry of Health, nearly 300 mothers have died in the past five or six months."

Meanwhile, the WHO in a report said that 24 mothers and 167 infants die daily from preventable causes in Afghanistan.

The WHO report added: “The most severe repercussions of this protracted health emergency are borne by Afghan women and children, who find themselves on the margins of society. They are increasingly vulnerable to adverse health outcomes, particularly concerning reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Tragically, preventable maternal mortality claims the lives of 24 mothers every day, and a staggering 167 infants die each day of preventable causes.”

"It is well known that we do not have good diagnostic or treatment equipment, and we also lack sufficient health centers. Look at Malalai Hospital, which is our largest hospital, and see how limited its facilities are, or Rabia Balkhi Hospital," Najm Sama Shefajo, head of the Association of Obstetric Gynecology, told TOLOnews.

The WHO report also mentioned that Afghanistan has made significant progress in fighting polio since 2021; however, challenges such as economic recession, drought, floods, food shortages, and the return of refugees remain.

"The role of WHO is commendable because it can provide financial support and help deliver healthcare services to remote areas, ensuring vaccines reach all parts of Afghanistan and remote locations," said Hashmatullah Azimi, a doctor.

The report also stated that the need for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan has surged dramatically, increasing from 18.4 million people in need prior to August 2021 to the current estimate that 23.7 million people will be in dire need in 2024. A substantial segment of this population – some 9.5 million people residing in more than 20,000 villages – still have limited or no access to the most basic health services.

The WHO stated that WHO Afghanistan requires an additional US$ 352 million to supplement the overall budget of US$ 423 million for the 2024–2025 biennium.

Amid all the health challenges, maternal and infant health has always been a significant concern for the country's health system and international aid organizations.

Afghanistan Rejects WHO Report on Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates

Meanwhile, the WHO in a report said that 24 mothers and 167 infants die daily from preventable causes in Afghanistan.

تصویر بندانگشتی

The Ministry of Public Health has rejected the recent World Health Organization (WHO) numbers on maternal and infant mortality in Afghanistan, stating that in the first five months of the current year, only about 300 mothers and 4,000 infants have died across the country.

Sharafat Zaman Amarkhil, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said that 350 health centers have been established in the past two years to provide healthcare services to all citizens, especially mothers and infants.

Amarkhil told TOLOnews: "The figures available to the Ministry of Health of the Islamic Emirate differ significantly from these numbers. Based on our data, we reject the WHO report and the shared information, considering them far from reality. According to the data shared with the Ministry of Health, nearly 300 mothers have died in the past five or six months."

Meanwhile, the WHO in a report said that 24 mothers and 167 infants die daily from preventable causes in Afghanistan.

The WHO report added: “The most severe repercussions of this protracted health emergency are borne by Afghan women and children, who find themselves on the margins of society. They are increasingly vulnerable to adverse health outcomes, particularly concerning reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Tragically, preventable maternal mortality claims the lives of 24 mothers every day, and a staggering 167 infants die each day of preventable causes.”

"It is well known that we do not have good diagnostic or treatment equipment, and we also lack sufficient health centers. Look at Malalai Hospital, which is our largest hospital, and see how limited its facilities are, or Rabia Balkhi Hospital," Najm Sama Shefajo, head of the Association of Obstetric Gynecology, told TOLOnews.

The WHO report also mentioned that Afghanistan has made significant progress in fighting polio since 2021; however, challenges such as economic recession, drought, floods, food shortages, and the return of refugees remain.

"The role of WHO is commendable because it can provide financial support and help deliver healthcare services to remote areas, ensuring vaccines reach all parts of Afghanistan and remote locations," said Hashmatullah Azimi, a doctor.

The report also stated that the need for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan has surged dramatically, increasing from 18.4 million people in need prior to August 2021 to the current estimate that 23.7 million people will be in dire need in 2024. A substantial segment of this population – some 9.5 million people residing in more than 20,000 villages – still have limited or no access to the most basic health services.

The WHO stated that WHO Afghanistan requires an additional US$ 352 million to supplement the overall budget of US$ 423 million for the 2024–2025 biennium.

Amid all the health challenges, maternal and infant health has always been a significant concern for the country's health system and international aid organizations.

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