Capitol Hill Briefing Highlights Maternal Health in Afghanistan
Congresswomen and global health administrators held a briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday to highlight the issue of maternal health in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has the second-highest maternal mortality rate in the world according to UNICEF. Women's Policy Inc. sponsored the event in collaboration with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.
Melanne Verveer, the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's issues, spoke of women in Afghanistan "dying because medical facilities lack the equipment or the means to provide care under the best circumstances and in other circumstances because they lack electricity," reported Voice of America News. She also referenced an Afghan bill intended to eliminate violence against women that Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly will sign. The bill establishes a six month prison sentence for men who prevent women from working, getting an education or receiving health care, reports Agence France Presse.
Afghan Midwives Association President Pashtoon Azfar, and USAID Senior Maternal Health Advisor, Mary Ellen Stanton, both spoke on successful midwife training programs that have greatly increased the number of skilled care providers in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan was recently criticized by the United Nations for the impact corruption and instability have on the Afghan people, especially women. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report last week that "slammed Afghanistan for failing to curb violence against women and for sustaining a culture of impunity that leaves such crimes unpunished," reported Agence France Presse.
Media Resources: UNICEF 7/7/09; Voice of America News 7/14/09; Agence France Presse 7/14/09
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .