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Publication date: 
August 1, 2018


Afghanistan is one of the low-income countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region with a young population and a myriad of health care needs. We aim to report the burden of diseases and injuries in Afghanistan between 1990 and 2016.


We used the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 study for estimates of deaths, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), years of life lost, years of life lived with disability, maternal mortality ratio (MMR), neonatal mortality rates (NMRs), and under-5 mortality rates (U5MR) in Afghanistan.


Total mortality rate, NMR and U5MR have progressively decreased between 1990 and 2016. Mortality rate was 909.6 per 100,000 (95% UI: 800.9–1,023.3) and MMR was 442.8 (95% UI: 328.3–595.8) per 100,000 live births in 2016. Conflict and terrorism, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and road injuries were the leading causes of DALYs among males of all ages in 2016 with 10.9%, 7.8%, and 7.6% of total DALYs, respectively, whereas among females of all ages lower respiratory infections (LRIs), IHD, and congenital birth defects were the leading causes of DALYs with 8.7%, 7.0%, and 6.5% of total DALYs, respectively.


Despite improvements in certain health indicators, our study suggests an urgent intervention to improve health status of the country. Peace and safety by means of stopping the conflict and terrorism are the mainstay of all other health interventions. Improving health infrastructures, boosting maternal and child health (MCH), battling infectious diseases as well as chronic disease risk factor modification programs can help to decrease burden of diseases.


Massahikhaleghi P, Tehrani-Banihashemi A, Saeedzai SA, Hossaini SM, Hamedi SA, Moradi-Lakeh M, Naghavi M, Murray CJL, Mokdad AH. Burden of diseases and injuries in Afghanistan, 1990–2016: Findings From the Global Burden of Disease 2016 Study. Archives of Iranian Medicine. 1 Aug 2018; 21(8):324–34. Retrieved from