REACH Project Helps Sponsor Regional Health Conference in Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—The Regional Health Conference "Health for All, Health by All: Communicable Diseases Recognize No Borders," which convened in Kabul on April 17, concluded today with the signing of the Kabul Declaration on Regional Collaboration in Health by Ministers of Health and delegates from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

The Kabul Declaration calls for mobilization of political will in support of common regional policies and strategies to prevent, control, eliminate or eradicate communicable diseases in the region. The four-day conference focused on six diseases in particular: Avian flu, cholera, HIV & AIDS, malaria, polio, and tuberculosis.

Afghanistan's Minister of Public Health, Dr. Sayyid Mohammad Amin Fatimie, urged adoption of the policies agreed upon at the conference, which include identifying high risk and mobile populations in need of coordinated health interventions. The Declaration also seeks to establish uniform criteria for quality disease surveillance and the timely exchange of essential information related to occurrence of conditions that could lead to communicable disease outbreaks.

The Regional Health Conference, the first of its kind to be held in Kabul, was hosted by the Ministry of Public Health, with the assistance of USAID and WHO, and facilitated by USAID's Regional Expansion of Afghanistan's Community-based Healthcare (REACH) Program. Over the course of the four-day conference, delegates were addressed by His Excellency President Hamid Karzai and a number of renowned experts in the field of communicable disease, epidemiology and public health.