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Kosovo has the highest level of maternal and infant mortality in Europe, UNFPA Executive Director says

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Pristina, Kosovo, 19 November (UN News Service)-Kosovo has the highest level of maternal and infant mortality in Europe, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Nafis Sadik said today in Pristina.
Dr Sadik, who is visiting maternity clinics and hospitals in Kosovo, told journalists that the war conditions have aggravated the situation of women and children.

UNFPA is working in Kosovo to provide training and equipment to ensure safe delivery of newborn infants and quality maternal care in hospitals and clinics.

Dr. Sadik said many of the current deliveries are premature to women who suffered great trauma and stress during the war. "In many hospitals and clinics there isn't adequate equipment or trained personnel to care for premature infants," she said.

Many women and infants are dying because of a lack of basic equipment and care, she said. "As winter draws in, the situation is expected to worsen, as many of the clinics where women give birth have no electricity, heating or water."

Dr. Sadik said even full-term infants are often underweight, as their mothers did not get enough to eat during the war.

"Another problem related to the effects of the war is a higher than normal incidence of miscarriage," she said.

She said the World Health Organization in Pristina estimates that almost 50 per cent of premature infants born in Kosovo do not survive.