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Herat, Afghanistan

According to recent estimates Afghanistan has a population of 31.1 million people, with an average age of just 18 years old. 42.6% of the total population is between 0 and 14 years old. This is due to the fact that big proportions of the older generations lost their lives in nearly three decades of war. The age group of 55 to 64 years old comprises as little as 3.8% of the total population and a mere 2.5% are older than 65. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 50.11 years.

Statistically, a woman will have her first child at the age of 20 and will give birth to 5.54 children in her life. The birthrate is encouragingly high at 39 births per 1.000 inhabitants. In comparison, the birth rate in for example Germany is only 8 births per 1.000 inhabitants.

One of the biggest problems is the medical infrastructure, most of which has been destroyed by the ongoing war. To be precise, there are only 0.19 trained physicians and 0.4 hospital beds for every 1.000 inhabitants.

Before the Rezai-Foundation built the clinic in Herat there were only 20 hospital beds for the 2 million inhabitants of the province.

After three decades of war, Afghanistan is the country with the highest infant mortality rate in the world. It lies at at least 119 per 1,000 live births, so at around 12%. The United Nations Population Fund puts that figure even higher with 190 per 1,000 live births, so at nearly 20%. However, this only includes all registered cases and hence the figure could be even higher, especially when considering that statistics for the remoter parts of the country often do not exist. In comparison, here in Germany the rate is 3 per 1,000 live births.

32.9% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished.

Population Afghanistan 2013 - Alter (%) Source: CIA World Fact Book

Population Afghanistan 2013 - Alter (%)

Source: CIA World Fact Book

The maternal mortality rate is also extremely high with 460 mothers loosing their life per every 100,000 births. And again this rate could also be much higher, as for example UNFPA believes that a rate of up to 1,700 per 100,000 could be realistic. The most common cause of death for women aged 15 to 49 is “complications during pregnancy or childbirth“.

Urgent action is required! The nation’s future lies in the hands of its mothers! They are fundamental for change as they are the ones that raise the next generation. There is nothing more tragic and traumatic as a family loosing its mother.

The Rezai-Foundation’s clinic in the city of Herat is open to all women and children free of charge and has already helped to significantly reduce the infant and maternal mortality-rates in the region.

Thanks to your donations!