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A shortage of basic material needs was also observed in 59.1 percent of the households.The researchers defined a lack of maternal autonomy to mean mothers requiring permission from the head of the household to bring a child to the doctor, or if she required another person - usually a male relative - to accompany her to a clinic with the child. Afghanistan is deeply conservative and women's movements are still restricted in many parts of the country. The researchers defined a lack of education as not having attended school for at least a year. "The poor economic and educational status of these women, and their overall immaturity caused by a lack of learning opportunities may have resulted in difficulties in preventing illness in their children," they wrote. They called for change in Afghan society. Families needed to be educated and the government must play its part, they said. "Culturally appropriate programmes with multifaceted approaches that provide families and communities with education and reproductive health services can help stop child marriage," they wrote. They said while an effective healthcare system was urgently required in Afghanistan, changes were also needed in the behavior of men toward women in their families and in the community. "Current country-wide efforts to ensure that all women have access to formal education, the elimination of poverty and the improvement of sanitary conditions should be further enforced." (Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Valerie Lee)
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