Doctors at Bost Hospital in the militancy-riddled southern Helmand province have said that ongoing conflict and security threats have had a significant impact on the health of pregnant women in the area, and that there has been a sharp increase in premature births.
Health specialists in Helmand have said that a surge in violence has resulted in the increase of premature babies and in an increase in the maternal mortality rate.
Doctors said a high number of babies born in the past few months have been born disabled or have been stillborn.
According to the hospital, 333 new born babies were still born or died soon after birth over the past two months – all were premature.
Meanwhile, a number of women have said they went into premature labor because of explosions and the use of heavy weapons around them.
Afghan security forces have been engaged in heavy clashes with the Taliban in the province over the past few months. Clashes have been ongoing on a number of fronts and in suburbs of the provincial capital Lashkargah.
“As much as the sounds created by war is loud, its negative impact on pregnant women will also become more dangerous. The pressures that result from the explosions, have a negative impact on people, especially on pregnant women”, said Mariam, a doctor at Bost hospital.
Bost Hospital officials have said that the closure of roads and a surge in violence in the province has also led to the increase in the maternal and infant mortality rate.
“The number of pregnant women increased in the hospital. Even two pregnant women affected by the war have lost their newborns. Any kind of challenges, especially war, has lots of negative effects on women and their babies,” said Nisar Barak, head of Bost hospital.