Survey: Afghans living longer; fewer infants and mothers dying
Nov 30, 2011, 13:01 GMT
Kabul - Life expectancy in Afghanistan has increased by more than 10 years and infant mortality has halved, a survey of health focusing on the last three years and released on Wednesday showed.
Infant mortality has dropped to 97 deaths per 1,000 live births, the survey by the Ministry of Public Health found. In 2009, a UN study reported 199 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Whereas five years ago, one child in five died before reaching its fifth birthday, today the number had decreased to one in 10, Afghan Health Minister Suraya Dalil told reporters in Kabul.
Most of those deaths were due to 'acute respiratory infection and other preventable causes,' she added.
Health care has improved around the country in the past decade due to better access, more trained health workers, better education and more hospitals and clinics, the minister said.
Afghans are also living longer, the survey found. Men live to be 62 and women up to 64 years, according to the new report. The 2009 UN report put life expectancy between 47 and 50 years.
While fewer women are dying during pregnancy than they did seven years ago, it remained a top cause of death among Afghan women, the minister said.
'About one in 50 Afghan women will die of pregnancy-related causes,' Dalil said. 'Throughout Afghanistan, one woman dies about every two hours from pregnancy-related causes.'
Sixty per cent of Afghan women are now receiving antenatal care from a skilled provider and over one-third are giving birth with assistance from a skilled birth attendant, the survey said.
But lack of money and distance to health care facilities still remain major barriers to accessing health care, the survey found.
The survey also found Afghan woman give birth to more than five children on average.
While great strides have been made in the health care sector, there is still work to be done, the minister said.