A Future of Hope for Afghanistan: Researchers lead first systematic analysis of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and survival in Afghanistan

May 17/2016

By Tanya Reid, Senior Communications Manager, Centre for Global Child Health

A Countdown to 2015 case study published in The Lancet Global Health shows that despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress

The first comprehensive, systematic assessment of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) and survival in Afghanistan over the last decade was published today in The Lancet Global Health.

Afghanistan has had over four decades of incessant conflict and political instability and some of the worst health and mortality indicators seen globally. Although progress has been made, there has been limited analysis of the status and trends of maternal and child health indicators in the country – until now.

“It is critical that fragile democracies and transitional societies like Afghanistan are fully supported in their ambitions to improve the lives of women and children, and to move from a survival agenda to one that encompasses health and human development,” says lead author of the report Nadia Akseer, PhD Candidate in Epidemiology at DLSPH who is focused on child health in Afghanistan at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.

“Results from our analysis underscore the importance of investments in education for boys and girls and in the empowerment of adolescent girls and women, to prevent a vicious cycle of poverty and ill health among families in Afghanistan,” said Akseer.

“It is evaluations such as these that provide evidence that despite barriers, even the poorest and most fragile countries of the world such as Afghanistan, can show resilience” said Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, senior author of the report and Professor of Epidemiology at DLSPH.

“Investments in addressing major bottlenecks, improving health governance and current packages of care will go a long way in reducing the burden of maternal, newborn and child ill health and help Afghanistan achieve the sustainable development goals,”said Bhutta, who is a leader at both the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and Aga Khan University.

Read more about the study results here.

The full study can be viewed here.