BackgroundThe reproductive health services in Afghanistan have been severely affected by long lasting instability and conflict, leaving this nation with the highest maternal mortality rate on global basis. However, considerable efforts have been expended to increase coverage and improve the quality of midwifery services, yet they cover less than half of society’s needs.
MethodsThis is a qualitative study. 27 participants (12 patients, 12 professional health carers and 3 traditional birth attendants) were interviewed in two major provinces using a semi structural interview guide. This study aims to clarify which experiences and thoughts participants have about the present antenatal- and birth care in Afghanistan.
ResultsResults show that only a lower proportion of the fertile population uses the available antenatal and birth care services regularly. Limited insight about the importance of antenatal controls, familial involvements, transport and economic problems are mentioned to be the reasons that the majority doesn’t take advantage of the midwifery services. This study reveals also health workers` unethical and unsympathetic behaviour towards patients, along with corruption and discrimination of patients, as challenges Afghan women deal with while seeking help at mother- and child health care facilities. Despite the concerns and the current circumstances in Afghanistan with limited access to resources, health workers claim to serve the nation to the best of their ability.
ConclusionThere are many factors along with ethical issues, preventing Afghan women to seek help during pregnancies and child birth.