While there has been some progress in health care provision in Afghanistan in recent years, significant gaps remain. There is a clear discrepancy between the official narrative of the Afghan health system’s ability to cope with the needs of the population, and the realities facing our patients.
“Our patients tell us of long, dangerous journeys to bring malnourished babies, pregnant relatives, or injured loved ones to the hospital,” said Julien Raickman, MSF country representative in Afghanistan. ”They describe clinics with insufficient drugs or [without] qualified staff. And they have to contend with mounting debt to pay for treatment.”
As local, national, and international stakeholders look ahead to build a more stable future for Afghanistan, they must acknowledge that the country’s humanitarian situation has not improved and, in some areas, has worsened in recent years. An urgent priority now must be to ensure greater access to free, high-quality health care and respond to the acute medical needs.
MSF has worked in Afghanistan since 1980 and today runs projects in six provinces: Kabul, Khost, Kandahar, Kunduz, Helmand, and Herat. In 2018, MSF teams provided 411,700 outpatient consultations, assisted 74,600 births, and performed 6,890 major surgical interventions. MSF provides medical care free of charge. MSF relies solely on private funding for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept money from any government.