Medical and surgical treatment for the victims of a decades-long war.
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For over 40 years, Afghanistan has been devastated by instability and conflict that has killed over one million people, left hundreds of thousands wounded and disabled, and created over four million refugees. The legacy of previous wars continue to remain: anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordinance continue to wound children and adults, overwhelmingly civilians.
Today, Afghanistan is under an unprecedented economic crisis that is starving more than 23 million people, a consequence of the decades of conflict that have undermined the country’s future, the extraordinary drought, the devaluation of the local currency, inflation with grain and fuel prices rising by about 50 percent, and the closure of banking circuits and the resulting financial crisis.
Despite the challenges, our hospitals have never stopped being operational and continue to be a point of reference for the local population. We are offering free, high-quality care, as we have always done.
We have been present in Afghanistan since 1999. Since then, we have treated over 8 million people in the country and trained countless local medical staff with two Surgical Centres for War Victims in Kabul and Lashkar-Gah, a Surgical & Paediatric Centre and a Maternity Centre in Anabah, Panshir Valley, and a network of more than 40 First Aid Posts.
Even through the bitterest days of summer 2021, work never stopped once at our hospitals. They remain a beacon for local people, where victims of war, humanitarian crisis and every other emerging problem in the country can come for treatment.
We will go on giving free, high-quality medical treatment and aid to the people of Afghanistan, just as we have for the last 22 years.
Training local staff
As on all of EMERGENCY’s projects, our foreign staff in Afghanistan are tasked with training their local colleagues.
Our hospitals in Lashkar-Gah, Kabul and Anabah are also centres for postgraduate training in surgery, paediatrics and gynaecology, as officially recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Health.
As of 2022 we also provide specialist training in anaesthetics and we will soon award post-specialism “fellowships” in intensive care.
Providing jobs and professional training is an essential aim, above all at this time of reconstruction in Afghanistan, which has been devastated by fighting and suffered serious brain drain of doctors and nurses in the past year. Anyone with the chance to flee the country did so, worsening an already embattled healthcare system.
Following the change of government in Afghanistan in August 2021, the Anabah hospital is supported by significant contributions from institutional donors including ECHO and Italian funds from AICS and the regions of Lazio, Puglia and Emilia Romagna. The contribution of the AICS and the Italian regions was made possible through the multilateral mechanism and thus through collaboration with the WHO in Kabul.
Released in 2023, EMERGENCY’s report Access to Care in Afghanistan: Perspectives from Afghan People in 10 Provinces examines the shifting health situation in the country, through the voices of Afghans interviewed in the 10 provinces where we operate. EMERGENCY’s patients and colleagues, as well as staff in hospitals run by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, discussed how access to care has changed over the last few years, illuminating the barriers to medical treatment that Afghans are still facing every day.
In 2021, EMERGENCY released a new project entitled Afghanistan20, which reflects on the conflict in Afghanistan between 2001-2021 from the perspective of its victims and those treating them. Bringing together data from the organisation’s healthcare network across the country, testimonies from staff and patients, as well as contributions by journalists, researchers, and analysts, the project provides a vivid account of this chapter of the war in Afghanistan.