How one young woman's passion to become a midwife won over her family's doubts
Decades of conflict and instability
680,000 homeless|Doctor shortage|Constant violence
Today, Afghanistan has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, just 60 years, and the highest infant mortality rates with over 150 deaths per thousand live births. One in every four Afghan children dies before their first birthday.
Continued armed conflict makes security a constant concern for Afghan civilians, who find it difficult to access basic services and around three-quarters of the population have no access to clean drinking water. In addition, much of the country is cut off from international help.
Despite the security conditions, International Medical Corps has worked in Afghanistan since 1984, supporting and rebuilding the health system. Our programmes focus on strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Public Health, and providing primary health care to the most vulnerable, including the large number of Pakistani refugees in the country.
Hospital management: In Kabul, our teams worked with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health and local staff to modernise and boost the capacity of the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital. We have helped hospital staff to develop effective administration systems, expand the use of information technology and modernise records systems. We also work in hospitals and healthcare centres that service more than 400,000 people.
Mental health: Since January 2011, International Medical Corps has supported a 60-bed psychiatric hospital and affiliated drug dependency facility located in Kabul City. These facilities serve as the only public mental health hospital and drug abuse centre for the whole of Afghanistan.
Primary health care: International Medical Corps provides health care in refugee and returnee camps along the border of Pakistan, in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. We provide the only primary healthcare services targeting refugees and returnees in the region. We also focus on the prevention of violence against women and care for survivors.
Our impact and work
Relentless Afghan conflict leaves traumatized generation
On a low bed in a quiet, all-female hospital ward, a depressed Afghan teenager huddles silently under blankets, her mother close by. In a nearby room are men suffering from schizophrenia, delusions of persecution and power, anxiety and panic disorders.
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