According to the State of the world’s children, Afghanistan’s under-five mortality rate of 257 deaths per 1000 live births is
the third highest in the world, surpassed only by the rates for Angola and Sierra Leone 1 Cited infant mortality rates for 2005
are also very high, at 165 deaths per 1000 live births. 1 However, these are model-based projections that have not been updated
since at least 1993, 2 despite widespread changes in Afghanistanover the intervening period, such as the implementation of the
Basic Package of Health Services in 2003 and 2004. Also, these projections and other estimates are derived largely from a seminal demographic study conducted between 1972 and 1974 – the
National Demographic and Family Guidance Survey (NDFGS). Other demographic and health surveys have been conducted in
Afghanistan in the 30 years since the NDFGS but are of limited usefulness in explaining demographic patterns in the country be-
cause of methodological constraints and geographical coverage. More recently, the Afghanistan Health Survey (AHS) 2006, with a multistage cluster design, was conducted to gather information
on maternal and child health, child survival, family planning, health care use and related expenditures in rural Afghanistan.
The aim was to determine how much progress had been made in delivering the Basic Package of Health Services implemented
in 2003 and 2004

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