SCA Women's Day Appeal: Mother and child health care in Afghanistan in desperate need of funds

Peshawar, March 7, 2003 - Afghanistan has the highest maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the world. According to a recent UN study, an estimated 1,700 women die per 100,000 live births. The country's infant mortality rate is also extreme, with over 165 deaths per 1,000 births (compared to just seven deaths per thousand in the United States). One in four Afghan children dies before reaching the age of five.
To improve the health of women and children the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan currently supports 40 specialised mother and child health care (MCH) clinics in rural areas in eastern, northern and south-eastern Afghanistan. During 2002, at least 18,400 women received antenatal care through the SCA health programme, some 2,500 deliveries were attended in MCH clinics and more than 3,000 women received postnatal care.

The clinics also offer information about family planning and general healthcare. Trained community health workers visit women in their homes in the villages. During 2002, approximately 80,000 Afghan women were educated in reproductive health by SCA.

Yet these efforts are just a fraction of what is needed to save women's lives in Afghanistan.

SCA therefore plans to increase the number of MCH clinics from 40 to 67 by the end of 2003. But more resources are needed. On International Women's Day, March 8, we are launching a fundraising campaign for mother and child health care.

We hereby appeal for your support for Afghan women's right to life. By contributing to the SCA health care programme you can help save the lives of many women and children, needlessly dying every day in the rural areas of Afghanistan.

Lena Hjelm-Wallén, Chairperson, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan

For contributions: Bank transfer to: Svenska Handelsbanken, P.O Box 7045, 103 86 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN Swift Code HANDSESS, Sort Code : 6111, Account: 169 518 612 Holder of Account: Swedish Committee for Afghanistan

Or: Send a bank draft in favour of: Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, Trekantsvägen 1, 6th floor, S-117 43 Stockholm, SWEDEN

For more information please contact:The Information Unit, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan++92 (0)91 844340 / ++92 (0)91 841879, /