Afghanistan: Our Impact

Media Advisory Media Contact:Carol Miller, Management Sciences for Health   cmiller@msh.orgPress Teleconference: Challenges and Successes of Building Strong Health Systems in Fragile States   What’s working in South Sudan, Afghanistan and HaitiWednesday, June 8, 2011; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Steve Solter. {Photo credit. MSH.}Photo credit. MSH.

Afghanistan is a country whose past weighs heavily on its present condition. Despite major achievements in reconstruction since 2001, the damage of the Soviet occupation (1979-1989) and the Taliban regime (1994-2001) are still major hurdles for development efforts to overcome.MSH, which has worked in Afghanistan since 1973 with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors, is one of the most experienced organizations in the United States in managing and delivering health services in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is one of the most high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries in the world. TB affects women there two times more than men (female/male ratio is 2:1), and this is a unique phenomenon in the world. According to the National TB Control Program, in 2009, there were 26,358 TB cases diagnosed 17,044 (65%) of them were female. However, female health workers were not originally trained on TB case detection, diagnosis, and treatment so they were unable to help provide treatment within their own communities.

Hospital building construction at Sherana Provincial Hospital in Afghanistan. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Like many Afghans, the residents of Paktika province in the country's remote southeast are faced with serious security issues.  With the main road to Kabul going through the neighboring conflict-affected province of Ghazni, the services offered by Sherana Provincial Hospital, Paktika's only referral hospital, are particularly critical.The Management Sciences for Health-led Technical Support to the Central and Provincial Ministry of Public Health (Tech-Serve) project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), provides critical management and leadership support to Shera

World TB Day is here again on March 24! This is the second year of a two-year campaign, “On the move against tuberculosis– Innovate to accelerate action”, aimed at inspiring innovation in TB research and care.

Afghanistan, Tech-Serve trainingAfghanistan's maternal and infant mortality statistics are universally recognized as being among the world's worst. One of the many reasons for this is the lack of awareness among the community about the importance of family planning to maternal and child health.

Miriam, in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, has three children—two other infants died within days of birth. She has just given birth to her sixth child. This time, however, it was different from the previous pregnancies. She and her female relatives had learned from the local female community health worker about the importance of keeping the baby warm. The old custom of bathing the baby right after birth to make the newborn clean was dangerous because the baby easily became cold and then sick.

In Afghanistan, private health care providers and pharmaceutical suppliers play a large role in providing health services and distributing health products.

In a recent issue of International Innovation MSH President and CEO, Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, was interviewed about MSH's history, core values, and successes over nearly 40 years."The global health issues we face require an international, collaborative response that brings together every level of the health care sector," explains Dr. Quick.

Madina, community health worker in AfghanistanAfghanistan is facing an enormous healthcare challenge – not having a sufficient number of qualified healthcare workers available to address the pressing healthcare needs of women and children in rural communities. With 85% of the population living in villages, there are few options to provide proper care and advice to these rural families. Continuing to employ community health workers (CHWs) is proving to have an impact. Over 21,000 trained CHWs provide better access to health services for rural families in Afghanistan.