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Jean Chung July 18, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Maternal Mortality in Afghanistan 2007

After receiving a Master’s degree in photo-journalism from the University of Missouri in 2003, Jean Chung, a native of Seoul, South Korea, returned to Seoul to pursue her goal to be an international photo-journalist. During her three-year stay in Seoul, she covered various news events and generated photo stories extensively in Asia and the Middle East. She spent a year in Kabul, Afghanistan, from Aug 2006 to 2007, focusing on issues such as education, woman’s rights, and social changes. In September 2007 she received the Grand Prix Care International du Reportage Humanitaire at the Visa Pour L’image Photo Festival in Perpinginan, France, for her documentation on maternal mortality in Afghanistan. Her work has been featured in publications such as Stern, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Time Asia, French GEO, and Vanity Fair (Italy).

About the Photograph:

“It was the day after Qamar had died in a small hospital room in Faizabad, in Badakshan province, Afghanistan. Azibullah, 30, the husband of 26-year-old Qamar, and his mother, brought the dead body of her back to their home in the remote village and began to weep out of loss of his wife. Qamar, who was a tuberculosis patient who had given a birth to a baby boy by a cesarean section about two weeks earlier. She suffered from severe postpartum complications and later died in the hospital on May 20, 2007 leaving her baby and husband behind. According to the UN and other research data, 25,000 women die from obstetric causes per year in  Afghanistan, or 1 woman dies every 27 minutes. Qamar’s story was one of the examples of how Afghan women suffer from the lack of education, proper health care, information, and infrastructure. It’s a serious human rights issue for mothers and children since giving birth can be a forecast of death.”

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