Afghanistan: Labor Pains

Pediatric nurse Isabelle Arnould tries to save a baby that was born with complications at the MSF Maternity Hospital in Khost, Afghanistan.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
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While there has been much progress in maternal health care in Afghanistan over the past decade, the country is still one of the most dangerous places in the world for a woman to give birth. Insecurity means that many women hesitate to make the long, dangerous, and often expensive journey to health facilities that offer quality maternal care. Too many women still die preventable deaths because they do not have access to the essential care they need.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency obstetric services in three hospitals in Afghanistan—in Khost in the east, Helmand in the south, and in eastern Kabul. Across MSF’s maternity wards in 2013, medical staff delivered more than 33,500 babies. 

Women wait for services at the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 600 patients come through the hospital a day.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
Women and their newborns crowd the beds of the MSF Maternity Hospital in Khost, Afghanistan.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
In Kabul, Afghanistan, women going through labor are helped by midwives at the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital, which is known for its maternity care. Midwife Iline Ceelen comforts a woman going through labor who is around 13 years old. The Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital sees, on average, 900 to 1000 births a month.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
In Kabul, Afghanistan, women going through labor are helped by midwives at the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital, which is known for its maternity care. The Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital sees, on average, 900 to 1000 births a month.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
In Kabul, Afghanistan, midwives check the health of a newborn baby at the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
Pediatric nurse Isabelle Arnould tries to save a baby that was born with complications at the MSF Maternity Hospital in Khost, Afghanistan.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
Pediatric nurse Isabelle Arnould examines a baby in the neonatal ward at the MSF Maternity Hospital in Khost, Afghanistan.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
Midwives at the Khost Maternity Hospital monitor new born twins.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images
Women wait for services at the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 600 patients come through the hospital a day.
Andrea Bruce/Noor Images