According to the feminist wire of Ms. Magazine, Congresswomen and global health administrators held a briefing on July 14 to focus on maternal health in Afghanistan. According to UNICEF, that country has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
The Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues in the U.S., Melanne Verveer, spoke of women in Afghanistan "dying because medical facilities lack the equipment or the means to provide care under the best circumstances and in other circumstances because they lack electricity," as reported by Voice of America News.
Verveer also spoke about an Afghan bill that has the intention of eliminating violence against women. The bill states that men who prevent women from working, receiving health care or getting an education will get a six-month prison sentence. Afghan President Karzai is expected to sign it.
USAID Senior Maternal Health Advisor, Mary Ellen Stanton, and Afghan Midwives Association President Pashtoon Azfar spoke about the successful training programs for midwives.
Afghanistan recently came under fire by a report issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which "slammed Afghanistan for failing to curb violence against women and for sustaining a culture of impunity that leaves such crimes unpunished," according to Agence France Presse.