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Improving the Delivery of Maternal Health Services in Afghanistan

Condee-Padunov, Nikolai (2010) Improving the Delivery of Maternal Health Services in Afghanistan. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

As the popularity of continued involvement in Afghanistan begins to decline and talk of a coordinated exit becomes more prevalent, international efforts to contain Afghanistan's health crisis develop a new sense of urgency. Despite struggles to improve health, there has been significant progress in certain areas. Programs that target specific diseases have boosted immunization rates. Tremendous strides have also been made in expanding access to care in rural areas. But serious challenges remain, in particular maternal health. If not properly addressed, Afghanistan will remain at the bottom of the rankings on maternal mortality. Given the conditions for women in Afghanistan, a health issue in such urgent need cannot afford to be ignored.In this paper, I argue that comprehensive delivery of health services must include a stronger commitment to lowering mortality rates through innovative and targeted methods. Efforts to improve the health sector must take a "diagonal" approach, using low-skilled health workers as community-level representatives while working to continue the sector-wide improvements currently underway. While the sector-wide approach has expanded access to care and improved oversight of services delivered, it has not produced improvements in key health indicators such as maternal health. Health experts must work to bridge the divide between vertical approaches that target particular indicators and horizontal approaches that focus on the health system as a whole. Mortality rates will remain high and improvements in the health sector will go unnoticed if further efforts are not made to promote the utilization of health services, especially by pregnant women. Working to further incorporate pregnant women into the health sector will result in declining mortality rates and will further legitimize the efforts of the central government by demonstrating its capacity to provide essential public services.Keeping in mind Afghanistan's immense health crisis and the need to improve its deficient managerial capacity, the most sensible approach to improving the health system should be neither exclusively vertical nor horizontal but rather a combination of both, with a focus on vertical efforts to educate pregnant women about the need to utilize health services and promote healthy lifestyle choices relating to breastfeeding and nutrition.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Condee-Padunov, Nikolaicondee.padunov@gmail.com
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMurtazashvili, Jenniferjmurtaz@pitt.eduJMURTAZ
Committee MemberDausey, Daviddausey@cmu.edu
Committee MemberHarris, Jonathanjonharri@pitt.eduJONHARRI
Committee MemberFeinstein, Karenfeinstein@jhf.org
Date: 1 September 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 August 2010
Approval Date: 1 September 2010
Submission Date: 9 August 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: afghanistan; childbirth; health; health care; health services; healthcare; kabul; maternal mortality; pregnancy; public health; USAID; world bank; world health organization; maternal health; MMR
Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-08092010-101849/, etd-08092010-101849
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:58
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9024

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