Pregnant women in Bamyan grappling with malnutrition

BAMYAN CITY (SW) – A number of women in Bamyan province say that the lack of access to health services, economic challenges and lack of proper nutrition during pregnancy have caused them to suffer from malnutrition.

31-year-old Amena Ahmadi, who is five months pregnant for the third time, says, “due to economic problems and my husband’s unemployment, I cannot feed myself; that is why I got malnourished.”

Some of women who live in remote villages of Bamyan say that women’s lack of access to health centers is another reason why women are malnourished during pregnancy.

Farzana is another mother who lives in one of the remote villages of Yakawlang District No. 1 of Bamyan and is facing malnutrition. She said: “I got malnourished due to lack of access to health centers and lack of nutritional supplements.”

Sediqa Nazari, a woman who lives in the village of Haidarabad and suffers from malnutrition, says that she is trying to get rid of malnutrition by taking iron supplements and healthy food. “I have anemia. For my treatment, I take iron tablets from health centers and use them along with food,” she added.

Meanwhile, head of reproductive health department in the Bamyan’s Directorate of Public Health, says that lack of breaks in pregnancy, unhealthy diet and lack of iron and minerals in the body of pregnant mothers cause them to face malnutrition.

She said: “Pregnant mothers should eat four meals a day, and continue to eat a variety of foods that include vitamins and iron so that their bodies do not suffer from vitamin deficiency.”

Psychologists say that mental peace, stress reduction and being away from depression are also important for the mental and physical health of pregnant mothers.

Hanifa Haqjo, a psychologist, stated: “When a mother is depressed, she gets headaches and stomachaches, and her physical health is in danger; because physical and mental health have a direct connection.”

Officials in Bamyan provincial hospital say that the visits of pregnant mothers suffering from malnutrition in this province have increased compared to last year.

Gynecologist and obstetrician doctor Samin Nawazi says that in less than two months, 120 pregnant mothers suffering from malnutrition have been registered in the provincial hospital of Bamyan while 403 pregnant mothers suffering from malnutrition were registered in the hospital during the last year.

Ms. Samin said: “For mothers who are suffering from malnutrition, the World Food Programme (WFP) has supported with the nutritional materials.”

Malnutrition among pregnant women has increased while last year the United Nations announced that the number of pregnant women suffering from malnourishment in Afghanistan reached 2.3 million.