Posted by: Lister | November 6, 2007

Better Health Care for Afghan Children

Some signs of improvement in Afghanistan, inspite of all the chaos and destruction that is still going on there. From the LA Times:

Close to 90,000 children who would have died before age 5 in Afghanistan during Taliban rule will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care in the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

The under-5 child mortality rate in Afghanistan has declined from an estimated 257 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to about 191 per 1,000 in 2006, the Ministry of Public Health said, relying on a new study by Johns Hopkins University.

I never realised the situation was that bad before. It’s still bad, of course. But there’s been a significant improvement.

Still, Afghanistan continues to face severe problems. Health Minister Mohammad Amin Fatimi said 250,000 children under age 5 die every year, mostly from malnutrition, diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria.

Child immunizations have risen dramatically in recent years, and newly trained volunteer health workers are helping treat pneumonia among villagers in remote areas, said Tariq Ihsan, a deputy director with Save the Children.

[…] Deaths of Afghan children who don’t reach their first birthday have dropped from 165 per 1,000 in 2001 to 129 per 1,000 today, a drop of some 22 percent, Edwards said.

Afghanistan’s child mortality rate, from birth to age 5, has been among the worst in the world. Only Sierra Leone, with 283 child deaths per 1,000 live births, Angola (260) and Niger (259) ranked below Afghanistan at 257, UNICEF said in a 2006 report.

By comparison, the United States has eight under-5 child deaths per 1,000 births. Singapore and Iceland, with three childhood deaths per 1,000, topped the rankings.

(Via Progressive Muslima)

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