MSH's Afghanistan Program is featured in a leading British health journal, The Lancet

BOSTON, MA (OCTOBER 29, 2003) — The September 13, 2003, issue of Britain's leading health journal, The Lancet, highlighted Management Sciences for Health's work in Afghanistan. The Lancet editorial referenced the successful assessment of health resources in Afghanistan that was led by Boston-based Management Sciences for Health (MSH). From July to September 2002, MSH, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Commission, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), trained and dispatched more than 160 Afghan nationals to survey a total 1,038 health facilities, 2,915 community-based health providers, and 1,445 pharmaceutical outlets in all 32 provinces of Afghanistan. The goal was to develop an accurate picture of available health services and health professionals.

According to The Lancet, “Progress in targeting limited resources most effectively has been facilitated by research done to establish the nature of services already available. An important initiative in this respect was a nationwide project undertaken last year by the Ministry of Health, supported by the US non-profit organisation, Management Sciences for Health.” The Ministry of Health and its partners are using these data to establish a foundation for equitable access to a basic package of health services, with a focus on women and children.

Results from this assessment, and from research carried out by the Ministry of Health, UN agencies, donors, and a variety of aid and nongovernmental organizations, served as the basis for a plan of action to reconstruct the health system in Afghanistan. Central to the plan was the creation and adoption of the Basic Package of Health Services for Afghanistan. MSH is now a partner with USAID in conducting a large, three-year program called REACH (Rural Expansion of Afghanistan’s Community-based Healthcare). The REACH program’s goals are to save lives and improve the health of women of reproductive age and of children under age five—an estimated 16.5 million people throughout Afghanistan—by ensuring that they have access to basic health services.

The thrust of The Lancet editorial was to encourage continued and full support for this package of services in Afghanistan and to highlight the methodology used in developing the reconstruction plan as a potential blueprint for other post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
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