Lack Of Investment In Maternal, Infant Health Is 'Tragedy'

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Given that healthy women "deliver not just babies but paychecks and economic growth," it is a "mystery why maternal and newborn health still receives inadequate international attention and funding," Jill Sheffield, president of Family Care International, writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor.

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According to Sheffield, Afghanistan's "devastated health care system" has contributed to one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. "The sad truth is that if the Afghan government and its U.S. backers had invested in things that keep pregnant women alive -- such as emergency care facilities and training and security for paramedics, including midwives -- the country would now have at least a bare bones health care system," Sheffield writes.

"Pregnancies don't take timeouts to await solutions to political struggles, and meanwhile, every generation loses 10 million women worldwide," Sheffield writes, concluding, "It's a real tragedy, and not only in Afghanistan" (Sheffield, Washington Post, 7/5).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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