Kabul: Afghans are living longer, fewer
infants are dying and more women are surviving childbirth
because health care has dramatically improved around the
country in the past decade, according to a national survey
released on Wednesday.
A survey indicates that increased access to health care
in Afghanistan, more hospitals and clinics and more trained
health care workers and doctors have significantly contributed
to an overall improvement in the health of most Afghans.
"There have been many changes in the health sector and
that is why we have so many positive changes," said Bashir
Noormal, director general of the Afghan Public Health
Conducted by the Afghan Health Ministry in 2010, the
survey was sponsored and funded by international organisations
such as UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the US
government and the British Department for International
The survey was the most comprehensive to date in
Afghanistan despite the exclusion of some rural areas in the
south where international forces are fighting insurgents.
It showed that the estimated life expectancy is up to
between 62 and 64 years for both men and women. That compares
with previous studies that showed life expectancy from 47 to
50, the latter figure reported by the WHO in 2009.
More importantly, the survey showed that infant mortality
has been cut in half in recent years, and is now down to 97
deaths per 1,000 live births.
The survey said one in 10 children in Afghanistan dies
before they are five years old while previous surveys, carried
out about five years ago, showed that one in five died before
reaching that age. The 2009 WHO study reported 199 deaths per
1,000 live births.