SAYED KHEL, Pakistan - "It was seven in the morning, and I had not yet started my working day, when Hafsa* was brought to the clinic with normal labour pains," said Mahbooba, a 27-year-old midwife who runs the Aqtash clinic in Afghanistan's rural Sayed Khel District.
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KABUL, Afghanistan - For 49 years, a traumatic childbirth injury left Noorjahan living in the shadows. A prolonged, obstructed labour, and lack of emergency maternal health care, left her with an obstetric fistula - a hole in the birth canal that leaks urine or faeces.
BALAKOH, Afghanistan - It was midnight in the remote Afghan village of Balakoh, and 37-year-old Zainab was entering her tenth hour of labour in her mountainside home.
It was after midnight and Bibi Gul* was in critical condition when her husband and eldest daughter brought her to a hospital in Balkh, a province in northern Afghanistan. When the nurses examined her, they discovered that her body was covered in deep purple bruises, and that naswar, a powdered tobacco snuff, had been forced into her vagina.