Maternal mortality rate high in Afghanistan: U.N.

KABUL Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:58pm IST

KABUL Jan 26 (Reuters) - Afghanistan has the second highest rate of maternal mortality in the world, the U.N. said on Monday, and 1,600 out of every 100,000 pregnant women die each year because of poor health facilities.

Social and cultural restrictions such as barring women from being examined by male doctors and early marriages also contributed to deaths among women and infants, the report said.

Niger has the highest maternal mortality rates. (Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by David Fox)