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Stamford, Conn. – Dec. 19, 2012 – AmeriCares is launching a new project with American Medical Overseas Relief to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates in Afghanistan, which are among the highest in the world. Women in Afghanistan give birth to an average of six children in their lifetime, and 85 percent of deliveries occur at home without medical assistance.
AmeriCares is donating 1,200 birth kits to a community outreach program run by Afshar Hospital in Kabul to help ensure patients experience safe, hygienic home births. Each kit includes products recommended by the World Health Organization for safe births – hand sanitizer, surgical gloves, under pad, scalpel, cord clamp, and nasal aspirator – all enclosed in a biodegradable jute pouch.
“In Afghanistan, one in every seven women dies from pregnancy-related causes, and on average there are 131 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births, making maternal and newborn health our primary focus in Kabul,” said Tammy Allen, AmeriCares director of Asia and Eurasia programs. “The birth kits will decrease risk of infection and other preventable complications for mothers and babies alike.”
American Medical Overseas Relief – a California-based nonprofit organization – established the Afshar Hospital in 2009 outside Kabul, in an area where health care was previously unavailable. Today, the hospital treats 4,000 pregnant women a year, in addition to providing community outreach and patient education programs for those who cannot access hospital-based care due to cultural or other barriers.
AmeriCares has been delivering medical and disaster aid to Afghanistan since 1988, supporting health care providers with critically needed medicines and supplies for primary care, trauma care and maternal and child health programs.