In the News

Chief of UNFPA Pledges to Strengthen Support for Afghan Maternal, Newborn Health

  • 16 August 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Without sufficient access to health services and education, Afghan women have too many children too frequently exposing them and their families to dangers, the head of UNFPA today said on his first official visit to a developing country in Asia.

“One in 16 women of reproductive health dies in child birth. For every one that dies, five or six have permanent damage. It is important that we put in place health services that prevent this from happening, and that we strengthen the ability of women to determine how many children they have,” Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA and UN Under-Secretary-General, told reporters in Kabul.

The average Afghan woman has 6.5 children, while data shows she wants only three or four, the Executive Director said, adding that Afghanistan’s population growth doubled in the last 30 years stressing economic development and making the country increasingly at risk for possible famines.

As part of the solution, the Executive Director noted education in directly linked to women having greater opportunities to make decisions about their bodies, make them less likely to marry early and more secure from gender-based violence.

During his visit, Osotimehin said he wanted to see firsthand the progress Afghanistan was making on the UN Secretary-General’s “Every Woman Every Child” campaign.

Read the full story from the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan website

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