Maternal and Newborn

In Afghanistan, an estimated 17,000 Afghan women die from pregnancy-related complications every year. More than one-third of the deaths are attributed to severe bleeding either during or shortly after delivery. About 80% of such cases can be prevented with appropriate care during labour and delivery – the most significant of which is Active Management of Third Stage of Labour (AMTSL) by a skilled birth attendant. The MoPH recommends that AMTSL be available to all women during delivery, and therefore delivery at a health facility with a skilled birth attendant is necessary
Though the health service delivery is improving through the implementation of Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) in Afghanistan , more than 87 percent mothers and newborns are still lack access to essential health care due to long distances to health facilities, insecurity and local tradition/custom prohibiting mothers and newborns to seek services outside home especially delivery and postnatal period — a critical time when majority of maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities occur . , using global estimates, newborn deaths during the neonatal period—the first 28 days of life—may account for almost two-thirds of all deaths in the first year of life, and 40% of deaths before the age of five. There is also no data available on household practices for newborn care but it is safe to assume that poor and sometimes dangerous practices identified by small scale studies and surveys in other parts of Afghanistan may also be common . These studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding is a rare occurrence (as most newborns are given water, glucose, juice, non-human milk and soft foods), bathing newborns soon after the delivery is common; cord care is poor; and many cannot recognize the signs of illnesses in newborns or often perceive them as a curse or effects of an evil eye.
There is a great need to take an action TODAY – action that is focused on delivering essential Maternal and Newborn Care (MNC) interventions at home during delivery and within a few hours and days of birth. These relatively simple, low-cost interventions can save the lives of many. For example for newborns, these include immediate and exclusive breast-feeding, room temperature maintenance, proper umbilical cord care; recognition of newborn illness or health risk danger signs; and routine postnatal check ups for all newborns, beginning in the first two days, and extra care for premature low birth weight babies.