U.S. Embassy Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne and Acting Minister of Public Health Dr. Suraya Dalil joined Hirat Governor Yusuf Nuristani and regional Afghan health officials and members of the international donor community at a graduation ceremony for 40 midwives yesterday from the Hirat Institute of Health Sciences.

Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. About every 30 minutes a mother dies giving birth in Afghanistan, and 77 percent of these deaths are due to factors that could be avoided with proper health care. The neonatal mortality rate is also high in Afghanistan, with 60 newborns out of every 1,000 dying in the first month of life. “The Ministry of Public Health will be working to ensure that public health services are available to all Afghans, and maternal child care is one of our biggest concerns,” said Acting Minister of Public Health (MoPH) Dr. Suraya Dalil.

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