26 July 2010

Afghanistan’s mothers and children face high mortality rates

  1. With regular check-ups nurses can spot symptoms of measles and other diseases before they become life threatening.
  2. Ziba prizes her daughter Asiah's immunisation card at Karokh clinic in Afghanistan.
  3. In Afghanistan, Zahara brings her grandson into a clinic near the Iranian border to keep his immunisations up to date.

Preventable diseases such as measles and diarrhoea rarely kill in Australia but in Afghanistan thousands die from them every year. Afghanistan has the worst infant and maternal mortality rates across all of Asia.

In Afghanistan, babies are most at risk of infection during the first 28 days of their life. This is when measles often strikes and because there is restricted access to clean water and sanitation, diarrhoea is common.

While Australia's infant mortality is no. 196 in the world, Afghanistan is at the top* - for both infant and maternal mortality. World Vision is fighting this through immunisation and education.

Ziba is one of a small number of Afghani mothers whose child – Asiah - has an immunisation card. She receives regular health care at World Vision’s Karokh health clinic. Asiah was born at this clinic, and has been a regular visitor ever since.

Ziba proudly shows off her daughter’s immunisation card. Asiah’s health depends on this slip of blue cardboard.

Immunisation requires sustained health care to build up immunity. Repeated booster shots are needed. For Ziba and thousands of mothers like her, being part of a long-term health program that goes beyond care to include education and community action is essential.

World Vision is committed to a plan of action - the Child Health Now campaign - to prevent 6 million child deaths each year.

In countries like Afghanistan this kind of action is desperately needed.

*CIA Factbook (2009 estimate)

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Mar 23, 2010

God bless all those mothers and children. I will be praying for them. We need to stand up and help the poor and then we will truly follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

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