Despite progress in childbirth safety, one woman or baby dies every 11 seconds
Although childbirth survival rates are a “staggering success” compared with the year 2000, one pregnant woman or her child still dies every 11 seconds from largely preventable causes, UN health experts said on Thursday.
In a joint appeal for all nations to provide better medical care for all, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF and WHO, the World Health Organization, outlined several ways to help protect the 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns who die every year.
Their recommendations tackle immediate and underlying problems, such as ensuring that midwives have water to wash their hands and helping teenage girls to stay in school longer, where there is less chance of them getting pregnant.
According to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, “a skilled pair of hands to help mothers and newborns around the time of birth, along with clean water, adequate nutrition, basic medicines and vaccines, can make the difference between life and death”.
‘Disproportionate and indiscriminate Taliban attack’
Scores of civilians were killed and injured Thursday in what the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, called a “disproportionate and indiscriminate Taliban attack”.
According to a senior defense ministry official in the capital, a truck bomb detonated near the hospital in Qalat – the main health facility in the Zabul province.
Local reports affirmed that many of the victims were doctors and patients.
UNAMA tweeted that the bomb, which was targeting a security facility, caused extensive damage to the hospital “with terrible harm to health workers and patients inside”.
The latest attack comes just two days after the Taliban took responsibility for twin attacks which left dozens dead and many others injured.
Dozens of countries need food assistance
And finally, the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, revealed on Thursday that a total of 41 countries are in need of international food assistance.
Citing conflicts as the primary cause of high levels of food insecurity, FAO’s new Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also points to adverse weather conditions, which have affected agricultural production, reducing food availability and access.
Rainfall shortages and drought are of particular concern as they acutely affect food availability for millions in Africa.
Severe dryness in East Africa has dimmed crop production prospects and degraded pasture conditions for raising livestock.
The report also indicates that insecurity and localized dry weather conditions have hit crop production in West Africa.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News