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Afghanistan and Maternal Deaths

所属教程:Development Report 更新:12-01
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This is the VOA SpecialEnglish Development Report.

Afghanistan has one of the highest death rates in the world amongpregnant women and women giving birth. This finding is from a studyreleased in November by the United Nations Children's Fund and theCenters for Disease Control in the United States. Researchersquestioned about thirteen-thousand families in four Afghanprovinces. Many of the families live in small farming areas.

The researchers collected information about eighty-five-thousandwomen who died in the past three years. They found that problemsduring pregnancy or birth caused forty-eight percent of all deathsamong women between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine.

Officials say the death rate is worse in farming areas becausewomen do not get needed medical services. For example, in onefarming area, sixty-five percent of all deaths among women werecaused by problems during pregnancy or childbirth. However, incities like Kabul, the rate is only sixteen percent.

To help change this, the United States has launched a new programto build medical centers throughout Afghanistan. American Secretaryof Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, recently returned froma visit to Afghanistan. He says the United States is working to opena medical center in Kabul especially for women and children. MisterThompson says that Afghan doctors who live in the United States willhelp train workers for the center. The United States also plans toset up additional medical centers in all of Afghanistan's provinces.Each center will cost about one-million dollars.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, has also launched aprogram to train female medical workers in the eastern part ofAfghanistan. Currently, twenty-five women are being trained. Aftertheir training is completed, the women will work in farmingcommunities throughout eastern Afghanistan. In time, officials hopeto expand the program to western and southern Afghanistan.

UNICEF says that women and their families need to be educated torecognize possible problems during pregnancy. It says that themajority of deaths among women in Afghanistan could be prevented,but only if the right steps are taken.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by JillMoss.

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