‘Dying every two hours’: Afghan women risk life to give birth

She lay dazed, surrounded by the unfamiliar bustle of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF)-run hospital, exhausted from delivery the day before, but relieved.

Her still-weak newborn slept nearby in an iron crib with peeling paint, the child’s eyes lined with khol to ward off evil.

“If I had given birth at home, there could have been complications for the baby and for me,” said the woman, who doesn’t know her age.
Pregnant women wait at the corridor of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF)-run maternity hospital in Khost, Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP

Not all of the women who make it to the hospital are so lucky.

“Sometimes we receive patients who come too late to save their lives” after delivering at home, said Therese Tuyisabingere, the head of midwifery at MSF in Khost, capital of Khost province.

The facility delivers 20,000 babies a year, nearly half those born in the province, and it only takes on high-risk and complicated pregnancies, many involving mothers who haven’t had any check-ups.

“This is a big challenge for us to save lives,” said Tuyisabingere.

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