The worst place in the world to give birth – exclusive pictures from Afghanistan

24 September 2008
Alixandra Fazzina/Oxfam

Afghanistan needs another 8,000 midwives

“In Afghanistan, a woman dies every 27 minutes due to pregnancy-related complications.”

When the UN meets this week to discuss the Millennium Development Goals maternal mortality will be high on the agenda. The target to cut the rate by three quarters by 2015 is the most severely off-track of all the MDGs and every year half a million women are die in childbirth – most of them needlessly.

Afghanistan is one of the countries which is unlikely to meet the target. A woman dies there every 27 minutes thanks to pregnancy-related complications. There are 1,600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births but in the remote mountainous province of Badakhshan the rate is 6,500 per 100,000 – the highest recorded rate of maternal mortality in the world.

Oxfam took top photojournalist Alix Fazzina to Badakhshan, where she met and photographed the families behind the statistics and the doctors, midwives and traditional birth attendants trying to save women’s lives.

The stories available include that of nineteen year old Harakat. Whilst she was heavily pregnant she endured a night of heavy bleeding before being taken to a clinic two hours away. When she arrived her blood pressure barely registered and the clinic realised there was little they could do. Harakat had to go to the nearest hospital, seven hours away, for an emergency caesarean section. After an hour of traveling Harakat gave birth in the car, and had to endure the rest of the journey with her dead baby girl still attached to her because they could find nothing to cut her away.

Harakat was stabilized at the hospital and was lucky to be alive.

“When I left my house I thought I would die,” she told Oxfam. Her daughter was buried in a nearby children’s cemetery.

In Afghanistan:

  • 25,000 women die every year
  • Over 90% of deliveries take place at home and only 9% of deliveries are attended by skilled health personnel.
  • Since 2002, over 2,000 formal midwives have been trained but Afghanistan requires another 8,000 to 10,000 midwives to reach its target of one midwife per 2,500-3,000 people.

Notes to editors

Afghanistan: maternal mortality slideshow

The full set of pictures and captions are available here:

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Sean Kenny, UK, +44 7766 443 506,

Louis Belanger, US, +1 202 321 2967,

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – My personal experience in Peshawar – the poor will be left behind and the rich will have better chances as they have money to spend for better health services and facilities.



Filed under Humanitarian, Inilah dunia

2 responses to “The worst place in the world to give birth – exclusive pictures from Afghanistan

  1. I was in Afghanistan in mid 90s, late 90s and again in 2008. Things change a little if we look from global monetary system perspective. Oxfam being one of such engine based in UK, funded and execute parallel to ‘their’ global strategies. Lest not forget Afghanistan are blessed with rich natural resources captured and identified since 1980s. Lest not forget the Sunnah (Islam way of life) still in practice widely in Afghanistan. There are abundance of food in Afghanistan, people lives healthily, there are no drugs+insurance (multi billion USD businesses) enclaving Afghanistan.

    The statistic enclosed by Oxfam could bring false alarm to global communities who blindly being fooled by certain ideologies/beliefs to so-called humanity/feminism which had been thrown worldwide by Zionist in order to cater their short/long term world order.

    Of course, once we set our foot there, then the scene could turn otherwise, but how many of us indeed pursue just that. Whilst one comfortably seat at home with their wife, children, safeguarding their career, mortgage, status…other Muslim submitting their fate to God and sacrifice their wealth , self, and time in the path of their God. They cannot expect the Jews nor the Christians to defend their religion an land, being a Muslim falls to such duty / obligation. every Muslim in such cases carrying their own weapon, even Prophet Muhammad p.b.h. carrying a sword for the sake of religion, and that is Sunnah.

    I hope if we are going to establish reports to fellow global community, and if any of you are Muslim, then make sure you guys understand the roots of the report, else you only helping ‘others’ to destroy your own brothers/sisters.

  2. shahrulpeshawar

    Truly agree with your comment. The idea of publishing this article is to share with those who had never been in Afghanistan the difficulties faced by our Afghan sisters during birth. I agree the number and statistic given might be not accurate but the great concern is to tell and share with the world community that Afghan still need a lot of attention and support must be continued and maintained. Your comment is very much appreciated. By the way how is Kabul on your last visit there?

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