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Afghan infant deaths fall by 40,000 a year since ousting of Taleban

Ace calls this a collateral damage offset. I call it an inconvenient truth for those wanting to perpetuate the image of America -- the Great Satan. Whatever you call it, this is good news and something everyone should celebrate, regardless of their position on the war.

Infant mortality in Afghanistan has fallen dramatically since the demise of the Taleban, according to a new study, with 40,000 fewer babies dying every year.

Improvements in women's access to medical care since the Taleban were ousted from power five years ago was cited as the main reason for the death rate becoming significantly lower.

Grim infant and maternal mortality rates have been regularly cited as evidence of Afghanistan's backwardness after decades of war.

They were also seen as a sign of the slow progress of the internationally funded reconstruction effort.

According to the preliminary results of a Johns Hopkins University study, the infant mortality rate has declined to about 135 per 1,000 live births in 2006, down from an estimated 165 per 1,000 in 2001.

The researchers "found improvements in virtually all aspects of care in almost every province," the public health ministry and World Bank said in a joint statement on the findings.

Ace cites more of the report and notes that these are conservative estimates and that recent numbers are even better.

Note: I noticed the article used the spelling Taleban with an "e" instead of an "i". I looked it up before posting and found that either spelling is acceptable so I titled the post to be consistent with the report.

Update: Afghanistan isn't the only country experiencing this by product of US involvement.


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Comments (32)

Do you think the D-Rats ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Do you think the D-Rats give a shit? They can vote for their criminal behinds.

*Ugh* Ace the guy that came... (Below threshold)

*Ugh* Ace the guy that came over here and called one of your co-blogger's a part of the female anatomy.

It's as if Wizbang only has respect for those that have no respect for them.

Ace gets links form Lorie and Kim after he viled up more than a few threads here. You know not only did he show no respect for a few of the bloggers here-but how about the audience that had to read that vile stuff?

Lee his own blog-sure Lee started off not so bad but does Kevin realize how Lee devolved after awhile?

I could have just posted th... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I could have just posted the article without crediting Ace, but two wrongs don't make a right and I think it is only right to give proper attribution.

The Taliban refused to allo... (Below threshold)

The Taliban refused to allow girl children to learn how to read. Now women are taking health classes to learn to be midwives and health workers.

Think about it... women can't be seen by men doctors because men doctors are... men.

That's still the case as far as I can tell. Women can only get care from women but at least now women are getting health training and are allowed to get out and about to take care of other women or go to a clinic to be cared for by a woman.

Anyway, Lancet gave us that monstrosity about "excess deaths" caused by the war... it's only fair to ask them when they're going to give us a study about "excess lives."

Think I should hold my breath?

Lorie, how dare you not be ... (Below threshold)

Lorie, how dare you not be bitter and vindictive!

(Seriously, good job.)

Let's hope this isn't just ... (Below threshold)

Let's hope this isn't just a temporary trend given all the indications about the resurgence of the Taleban lately. The job in Afghanistan isn't finished. Far from it. Personally, I'd rather save the champagne bottles for the day we've got Osama's head on a platter and the Taleban have been defeated.

Larkin, I'd talk to a profe... (Below threshold)

Larkin, I'd talk to a professional about the images of Osama you are seeing. No one else has saw him for years, or did you mean Obama? Same religion, different man, but by his height and looks could be the son of Osama.

Did the NYSlimes report this or are they still on the path of self destruction by supporting the democrats who by looking at they're falling subscription rates don't support them? Talk about stupid business leaders.

It's a reflex.Can'... (Below threshold)

It's a reflex.

Can't be happy 'bout nothing.

It's against their religion.

These are all foreign names... (Below threshold)

These are all foreign names in different scripts, so there's no right or wrong spellings, only more or less reflective transliterations (ie, does the pronunciation mirror the accurate pronunciation?).

At any rate, my criminal behind considers that excellent news.

- (D)-rat.

Larkin, I only brief... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I only briefly mentioned it, but the article shows that not only is this a trend over several years, but that the last couple of years' figures were not yet complete, but are expected to be even better than estimated.

Information and education are powerful things. If the Taliban were ever able to regain the control they once had over the country, it is possible things could reverse, but now that this information is out there it will spread and multiply and then be passed from generation to generation so I have optimism that the trend will not only continue, but will get better every year.

Isnt't that sweet Lorie.</p... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Isnt't that sweet Lorie.

More kids born into a sea of hopelessness.

We all know how well that turns out.

So, "civil behaviour", you'... (Below threshold)

So, "civil behaviour", you'd rather Afghans don't have children? How indescribably vile of you. Or perhaps you'd rather they were still oppressed. Either way it is a reprehensible thought you have expressed.

More kids born int... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:
More kids born into a sea of hopelessness.
Democrats are running Afghanistan now?
Hmmm. Demographically speak... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Hmmm. Demographically speaking, birth-rates are lowest in places like Western Europe and Japan.

Does hopefulness discourage childbirth, or is it that Western Europe is filled with hopelessness?

Hope is evil, don't you kno... (Below threshold)

Hope is evil, don't you know.

And having children is bad for the Earth.

And having children at all is bad for *you* for women particularly, as it ruins their lives.

Can't be happy about nothing at all.

Seriously, look at this comment thread. The politics of compassion and all that good stuff ought to lead to some happiness that women are beginning to receive health care, that they can legally learn to read and study and that their children aren't dying so much as before but Noooooo...

Gotta look at the bad side, even if there isn't one, got to...

Can't be happy.

And you all wonder why *we* accuse *you* of wanting the bad stuff... it makes perfect sense when you "compassionate" sorts prefer it.

Hey Eric!You're su... (Below threshold)

Hey Eric!

You're supposed to include fair warning with a comment like that. Now I have to go find some handi-wipes to clean up the ol' monitor screen.

What Larkin said was mired ... (Below threshold)

What Larkin said was mired in negativity.

What civil behavior said was vile.

And so now we hear how coma... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

And so now we hear how comapassionate the cons want to be about people who are in most cases their enemy. The same people they accuse of breeding terrorists who come to this country to attack them, now all of sudden they want to get all soft and mushy?

What happened to the courage of fighting the enemy. I would have thought you would have been glad to have fewer terrorists being born. We all know that kids being born into that sea have only been brainwashed to believe that America is the infidel and being a martyr is for Allah.

But, oh No, I want them to live so they can grow up to attack us....or, gee, oops, what do I mean?
Which is it.....do I want them dead or alive?....Or "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." That's right, that's what I want everyone to remmember. Did I get it right yet?

Foolish Americans.

[quote]I would have thought... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

[quote]I would have thought you would have been glad to have fewer terrorists being born.[/quote]

And yet another shining example of how liberals are the bigotry-free moral authority.

I don't even know how to be... (Below threshold)

I don't even know how to begin to respond to what civil behavior is spewing... How about instead of trying to make up stuff about what other people think, you explain what *you* think?

Presuming you think.

Does it really bother you that much that other people don't hate as much as you think they should?

Seriously, I'm just bogglin... (Below threshold)

Seriously, I'm just boggling. Is this the world as people like civil behavior see it? No wonder they think we're losing, if they believe even babies are the enemy.

It's... vile.

I can't think of a better term. Hate the children? Hate the women who suffered so badly for so long?

Hatred is self-destructive. Always. Even hating Bin Laden is self-destructive. Rots you from the inside.

It's certainly good news, b... (Below threshold)

It's certainly good news, but since when did Wizbangers believe Johns Hopkins studies? Have you really already forgotten all the insults you hurled last year, the year before that and the year before that?

Which John Hopkins studies?... (Below threshold)

Which John Hopkins studies?

Lancet got creamed. I don't remember John Hopkins getting creamed.

I just love it when the con... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

I just love it when the cons pretend they don't recognize themselves in my reviews.

Just love it.

It's so hard for them to admit their own hypocrisy.

Not to worry guys, I didn't expect you to "get it". The cutting edge is pretty much beyond your ability to comprehend.

Tonight watch Jon Stewart. Bone up.

Tonight watch Jon ... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:
Tonight watch Jon Stewart. Bone up.

You're using the Daily Show as a reference for your moral authority?

LOL! OK, which of you Conservatives got on here and are pretending to be a Liberal? No..really... who?!

Synova, are you trying to b... (Below threshold)

Synova, are you trying to be funny?

Nooooo... am I being funny ... (Below threshold)

Nooooo... am I being funny by accident?

I don't remember anything about John Hopkins. I suppose I could Google or something but I can just imagine the hits I'd get so I don't expect that would help.

Or is Lancet actually a John Hopkins publication/organization?

In any case, I'd previously seen photo slide-shows of the classes of women learning to be health workers and read about the efforts being made to get medical care to women and pre and post natal care to infants so this wasn't exactly a surprise that some progress has been made.

There's a very long way to go yet, of course, but the progress seems reasonable overall. 135 of 1000 infants not reaching their first birthday is still pretty heinous. That's more than one of ten.

(Seriously, I'd remember an outcry about John Hopkins, I'm sure I would. It's silly, but I always notice the name (the same way I notice Rochester and Mayo but for different reasons) because my first serious crush ever was on a guy who's name was actually John Hopkins. (No, he never knew I existed.))

Go on Synova, try that Goog... (Below threshold)

Go on Synova, try that Google search. But remember to put an "s" at the end of "John".

Hah, so it is the Lancet th... (Below threshold)

Hah, so it is the Lancet thing.

Now, cat. What am I supposed to do about that? Is the fact that someone did a highly flawed cluster sample thing mean that everything Johns Hopkins touches should be shunned?

Does it even mean that anything else Lancet publishes is a lie?

We've got civil behavior up there just about excited enough to piddle on our shoes at the idea of pointing out hypocrisy on the right which seems to be her calling people hypocritical for not being hateful enough.

People tore apart the Iraq body count thing for counting "excess deaths" that could not be verified from any sources whatsoever and a margin of error that was truly incredible.

Are you disputing the numbers?

If so, dispute them.

I'm don't feel the least bit obligated to maintain some personal vendetta against Johns Hopkins just because someone else thinks I ought to.

Synova, first let me repeat... (Below threshold)

Synova, first let me repeat that I am very happy that more Afghan women are receiving medical care and more Afghan babies are surviving. That is supposed to be the main theme of this thread. It should be noted that the results are preliminary, and I would want to see more details than I have so far before I am certain, but I am happy that there seems to be some good news there.

Here's a thing, though. Just like your counterparts on the other side of the political spectrum, you have unquestioningly seized on any reported news that backs up your argument with as much gusto as you condemn any study that contradicts you.

When I pointed this out, you dramatically proved my point. When you do not even know the correct name of Johns Hopkins University and you do not know that the Lancet is the official journal of the British Medical Association, it seems rather unlikely that you have done any research on this at all to make you remotely qualified to judge their methodology. The same goes for all the other criticisms of that survey I have seen so far. Those who actually are qualified to judge have widely praised that methodology and consider it to be the best estimate available of Iraqi casualties.

Your "people tore apart the Iraq body count thing" sentence shows that you do not even know which survey we are talking about. So stick with your "John Hopkins" and "highly flawed cluster sample thing" if you want to. But don't expect to ever be taken seriously.

Sorry to be so impolite, but you really should have paid more attention at school.

You aren't sorry to be impo... (Below threshold)

You aren't sorry to be impolite. Why fake it?

You obviously think you've made an important point of some sort. That I should have valued and remembered data in a way that you prefer, perhaps? That my lack of care for names means that I can't understand a sampling argument, perhaps?

I'm trying to follow your argument and finding that you haven't made one at all about anything other than me. You made some declarations about the estimate of Iraqi casualties and the veracity of those who are qualified to understand the methodology (which I understand is quite reliable when used properly).

Whomever was in charge of this one, the methods are described as such:

"The researchers studied more than 600 health facilities annually since 2004.

Doctors and health professionals visited 8,278 households, using a standardised questionnaire to interview one mother per household about her birth history.

The study found the number of women receiving prenatal care increased to 30 per cent in 2006 from 5 per cent in 2003.

Nineteen per cent of pregnant women were attended by a skilled health worker last year, up from only 5 per cent in 2003.

The survey was conducted in 29 of the country's 34 provinces - excluding Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar, Zabul and Nuristan because of security concerns, Mr Loevinsohn said."

This sounds reasonable. They have several years of data from the same areas to judge changes and no claims are made about the provinces where it was unsafe to travel.

I look up the Iraqi death *stuff* and I find this:

"Dr. Roberts defended his 47 cluster points, saying that this was standard. I'm not sure whose standards these are.

Appendix A of the Johns Hopkins survey, for example, cites several other studies of mortality in war zones, and uses the citations to validate the group's use of cluster sampling. One study is by the International Rescue Committee in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which used 750 cluster points. Harvard's School of Public Health, in a 1992 survey of Iraq, used 271 cluster points. Another study in Kosovo cites the use of 50 cluster points, but this was for a population of just 1.6 million, compared to Iraq's 27 million.

When I pointed out these numbers to Dr. Roberts, he said that the appendices were written by a student and should be ignored."

I'm sure that you are ever so much smarter than I am and would never *ever* chose to believe those things that most conform to your preferences and prejudices.

Yes, Synova, I was unnecess... (Below threshold)

Yes, Synova, I was unnecessarily rude and I apologize.

Now let's return to the selective credibility given to studies that confirm our own beliefs, while unquestioningly accepting any criticism of studies that challenge our beliefs.

The Wall Street Journal op-ed you quote from was written by Steven E. Moore, a political consultant who acted as an adviser to L. Paul Bremer. This fact should ring some alarm bells about his possible motivations for trashing the survey, but that would not matter if his statements were true. Unfortunately, they were largely misrepresentations, and at one point in the article he flat out lied:


Meanwhile, the chief scientific adviser to the British Ministry of Defense was telling the government:

"The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to 'best practice' in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."


Both this and the previous Johns Hopkins survey in Iraq, were subjected to thorough peer review before publication in the Lancet. Scientists with direct experience in mortality estimates praised their methodology. Politicians and political writers criticized it. Which of these groups of people should we trust most to give an objective evaluation?

Incidentally, the last study gave a 95% level of certainty that the number of excess deaths in Iraq was between 393,000 and 943,000. The least likely figures are at the lowest and highest ends of this range. But even if we take the lowest, 393,000 is a horrifically high number.






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