Reproductive health in Afghanistan: results of a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey among Afghan women in Kabul.

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


A reproductive-health knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey was carried out among 468 Afghan women of reproductive age. A convenience sample of women was selected from attendees in the outpatient departments of four health facilities in Kabul. Seventy-nine per cent of respondents had attended at least one antenatal consultation during their last pregnancy. Two-thirds (67 per cent) delivered their first child between 13 and 19 years. The Caesarean-section rate was low (1.6 per cent). Two-thirds (67 per cent) of deliveries occurred in the home. The contraceptive prevalence rate was 23 per cent (16 per cent modern and 7 per cent natural methods). Twenty-four per cent had knowledge of any STIs, although most of these women did not know correctly how to prevent them. Most of the women (93 per cent) needed authorization from their husband or a male relative before seeking professional health-care.

In multivariate analysis, women's schooling was significantly associated with antenatal-care attendance (AOR 4.78), institutional delivery (AOR 2.29), skilled attendance at birth (AOR 2.07) and use of family planning (AOR 4.59).

Reproductive-health indicators were noted to be poor even among these women living in Kabul, a group often considered to be the most privileged. To meet the reproductive-health needs of Afghan women, the socio-cultural aspects of their situation — especially their decision-making abilities — will need to be addressed.

A long-standing commitment from agencies and donors is required, in which the education of women should be placed as a cornerstone of the reconstruction process of Afghanistan.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

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