“The worst place in the world to give birth.”
Who would ever wish to be pregnant in a place with that kind of danger? But Afghan women living in the remote northern province of Badakhshan have had no other choice. In 2009 in Afghanistan a woman was dying every 27 minutes. Clinics were scarce and there weren’t enough trained midwives or birth attendants.
Across large swathes of this starkly beautiful mountainous region, there were no roads or transport. Many women had to travel on foot or on donkey for days to reach a clinic. They still do.
Changing the fate of women in childbirth means changing so much of life in remote areas. There is no electricity, no running water, no paved roads. Outside the capital, a trip to the clinic – if it exists – can mean walking for days, traveling by donkey, or if the family can scrape together enough money, by car. Many women are carried on wooden planks or ladders supported by four men, including an anxious husband.
There have been changes, though there is still a long way to go. The Afghani government, along with international NGO’s and local women’s action groups are seeking to bring change to the lives of women.
How would Jesus treat a woman living with these dangers and challenges? What will it take for their lives to change with the help of a world that has resources and abilities to actually make a difference?