Afghanistan remains one of the least developed countries in the world. Forty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line and life expectancy at birth is only 45 years. Afghanistan has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world, and only 14% of births are attended by a skilled health care worker. Polio remains a concern for young children, especially in the south of the country.
In support of our commitment to the G8 2010 Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Under-Five Child Health, Canada is continuing to strengthen health care by promoting access to basic health and hospital services, particularly for mothers, newborns and children younger than five. We are also promoting the recruitment and retention of women in health care professions.
Building on Canada’s signature polio-vaccination program, we will continue to support polio vaccination programs for children younger than five across Afghanistan, and will encourage the use of these programs as a platform for the delivery of other health services such as micronutrient supplementation and hygiene promotion.
To improve nutrition for mothers, newborns and children younger than five, Canada will help the Afghan Ministry of Public Health deliver community-based nutrition services, particularly for adolescent girls, pregnant women and children younger than two.