The birth of hope for Afghanistan's mothers

From The Independent: “Abdul Manan stood expectantly outside the maternity unit awaiting the birth of his first child, his calm facade only betrayed by the way his head snapped around each time the delivery room door opened. On the other side of the door, his teenage bride Firoza barely whimpered as she entered the final stages of a long labour, assisted by an increasingly fraught looking midwife.

In many parts of the world, it would be a variation on an entirely normal scene. But in Afghanistan, where the number of women who die in child birth annually is 10 times higher than the civilians killed in the bloody conflict, Abdul’s insistence on bringing his wife to the newly built hospital unit represents a dramatic sign of progress. The country competes with Sierra Leone for the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Every year, 24,000 women perish from complications in pregnancy that would be easily treatable in the UK…”

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