Nov 30, 2011
Latest figures from a national survey point to improved standards in Afghanistan's maternal mortality. Women however continue to die every two hours from pregnancy related causes.
The Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS) 2010, the country's first comprehensive national mortality survey, shows the maternal mortality ratio is below 500 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The figures reflect improving standards in antenatal care in recent years, the survey says.
The survey covers almost all of the country's population.
In 2005, United Nations Population Fund figures showed maternal mortality rates were 1,800 per 100,000 births in the country.
While maternal mortality figures are improving, complications from pregnancy and childbirth still pose significant risks to women and account for about two in five deaths in women aged 15-49, the survey says.
An Afghan woman dies every two hours from pregnancy-related causes, it says.
And around one in 10 children in Afghanistan will die before their fifth birthday - the highest figure in South Asia, it adds.
The AMS 2010 covered 87% of the population of the country - 98% of the urban population, and 84% of the rural population.
The 2010 estimates are lower than previous estimates, which were based on a geographically limited and non-representative sample, officials who carried out the survey say.
The AMS 2010 was carried out by the Afghan Public Health Institute (APHI) of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Central Statistics Organization (CSO).
For security reasons, the rural areas of Kandahar, Hilmand, and Zabul were excluded from the survey, but the urban areas of these regions were included.
The analysis of the mortality data from the AMS 2010 shows that there were omissions in the reporting of girls and women and particularly of deaths to girls.