MSH's work in Afghanistan is featured in the Harvard Health Policy Review

BOSTON, MA (OCTOBER 29, 2003) — In the Spring 2003 issue of the Harvard Health Policy Review journal, MSH's William Newbrander, Paul Ickx, and Gretchen Hurley Leitch chronicle the initial steps taken by the Ministry of Health of Afghanistan to re-build their national health care system. In the Globalization, War and Public Health feature section of the Harvard Health Policy Review, MSH authors address the tremendous health needs of Afghans after more than two decades of war.

The article, titled Addressing the Immediate and Long-Term Health Needs in Afghanistan, gives a detailed account of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to address difficult management issues such as how to develop a long-term strategy when Afghanistan has been in a prolonged state of political emergency, aggravated by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and drought. The article states “Clearly the only feasible form of aid is relief”. But what next? Newbrander, Ickx and Leitch attempt to answer this question and present the successive stages of health development from Emergency to Rebuilding:

Relief > Rehabilitation > Reconstruction > Development

Starting with the immediate health relief needs (almost 60% of the population are lacking access to the most basic health services) – to the development of a funding mechanism for non-governmental organizations – to providing emergency drugs – to capacity building at the Ministry of Health; the article describes the stages of re-building a health care system in Afghanistan. Many of the lessons learned from this experience have applications in other post-conflict situations.

This interesting article about how MSH is addressing the health needs in Afghanistan ends with a section of next-steps for rationalizing health and human resources, coordinating non-governmental agencies, public sector capacity building and systems development.


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