Afghanistan is an ancient country with a turbulent history. Since 1979, Afghanistan has experienced a Soviet takeover, a civil war, the oppressive Taliban government and years of significant drought.
Historically, under strict Sharia law, male physicians have been prohibited from studying female anatomy and physiology, leaving the country without any skilled birth attendants for pregnant mothers. Not surprisingly, Afghanistan now has one the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Afghans face several other health challenges, including lack of clean water and sanitation services, an inconsistent health education system, rundown transportation services, and mountainous terrain. People seeking care often wait in overcrowded, understaffed facilities that prevent them from getting the treatment they need.
Afghans who do seek care often wait in overcrowded, under-supplied and understaffed facilities that prevent them from getting the care needed. There are only 19 physicians for every 100,000 people in Afghanistan and the life expectancy is just 46 years.