Maternal Mortality Ratio is still very high in Afghanistan at 372 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is the highest in the south Asian region. Hypertension during pregnancy increases the risk of eclampsia, newborn and maternal deaths. WHO recommends calcium supplementation to targeted pregnant women after 20th week of gestation until end of pregnancy. The objective of this paper is to present the outcome of calcium supplementation to targeted pregnant women to reduce the occurrence of eclampsia and related maternal mortality among pregnant women in one province of Afghanistan.
Based on WHO recommendation, for the first time a pilot project was implemented in Kunar province located in west part of Afghanistan. The project targeted pregnant women (N=785) in 15 districts of the province during a six month period. They received 1.5 gram Calcium tablet /day from 20th week of gestation onwards through all health facilities. The project was funded by Common Humanitarian Fund and implemented by PU-AMI the main health care provider NGO in the province. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for analyzing the results of the project.
The data from Kunar provincial hospital registers (which is the only facility for treatment and follow up of pregnancy revealed complications in the province) revealed that during the life of the project (from Jun-Nov 2015) there was a 60% reduction in the number of eclampsia cases compared to the same period in 2014.
Calcium supplementation among target pregnant women has a remarkable effect on reduction of eclampsia, maternal and newborn deaths.