FILE: Chung_Maternal_01.jpg
DESCRIPTION: Qamar, left, a 26-year-old tuberculosis patient from Shohada district, sits in her hospital bed with her newborn son and mother-in-law, Khalisa, inside the recovery room at Faizabad Provincial Hospital, Faizabad in Badakshan province, Afghanistan, Friday, May 11, 2007. Qamar, who already lost her first child from the natural delivery about two years ago, delivered the second baby by the cesarean section this time. However, her health conditions became deteriorated with an unknown cause, and she suffered from postpartum complications such as meningitis, hypothermia, and toxoplasmosis. She later died in the hospital on May 20 leaving the baby and the husband behind. Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world only after Sierra Leone. An astonishing number of 25,000 women die from obstetric causes per year, or 1 woman dies every 27 minutes. A UN report released in 2000 indicates that the national MMR in Afghanistan was 1,900 per 100,000 live births, whereas it was 17 in the United States. Sierra LeoneÕs maternal death rate was 2,000. Ragh district in Badakshan province showed the highest mortality risk ever recorded in human history, with 64% - more than half of women - of reproductive age died during 1999 and 2002. The causes of deaths were analyzed mainly in two parts: direct and indirect. Direct causes include haemorrhage, obstructed labour, cardiomyopathy, sepsis, obstetric embolism, and pregrancy-induced hypertension; and the indirect causes were tuberculosis, malaria, and obstetric tetanus. According to the survey of Afghan women who died port-partum by Dr. Linda Bartlett in 2002, 94% died within 42 days. 56% of these women died in the first 24 hours.