country-Icon_afghanistan

Afghanistan

Today, Afghanistan has one of the lowest life expectancies (50 years) and one of the highest infant mortality rates (119 deaths per live 1000 births) in the world. Continued armed conflict makes safety tenuous for civilians who also find it difficult to obtain basic services. What’s more, the areas of greatest need are often ones that remain inaccessible to international aid organizations due to security concerns.

Despite the security conditions, International Medical Corps has provided health services for vulnerable populations in Afghanistan for 30 years. We aim to improve the quality of life and health status of Afghans through integrated interventions and by strengthening the capacity of the public health system. We focus on: 1) strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Public Health, 2) fostering fundamental behavior change at the community-level and 3) using sustainable interventions.

Our programming in Afghanistan encompasses four key strategic objectives: improving the accessibility and quality of preventative and curative healthcare service delivery at the community and facility levels; increasing the professional capacity and specialized skills of health care workers and support staff; integrating preventative approaches to maternal-child health, public nutrition, mental health, gender-based violence, and other critical sub-sectors; and addressing basic needs in the area of emergency preparedness and response for communities at risk of rapid-onset natural disasters, communicable disease outbreaks, and/or increased incidents of armed conflict.

International Medical Corps in Afghanistan has extensive experience and technical capacity in delivering primary, secondary and tertiary-level health care services; training community health workers and health facility professionals; implementing hospital management reforms in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health; preparing for and responding to natural disasters, including severe winter, flooding, and earthquakes; as well as a number of other integrated relief and development projects.

QUICK FACTS

  • Population

    Population
    31.8 Million

  • age

    Median Age
    18.1 Years

  • life

    Life Expectancy
    50.49 Years

  • life

    Fertility Rate
    5.43 children per mother

  • Infant Mortality Rate

    Infant Mortality Rate
    111.23 deaths/1000 live births

OUR PROGRAMS IN AFGHANISTAN

  • Population

    Health Services Support

  • Population

    Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

  • Population

    Emergency Response and Preparedness

  • Population

    Women's and Children's Health

Meet Fatima:

A midwife in rural Afghanistan, a country which suffers from one of the highest maternal mortality rates

READ FATIMA'S STORY

"One Day in Kabul"

"In the lands of the east"

CURRENT PROGRAMS

Hospital Management

International Medical Corps has implemented three hospital management programs throughout Afghanistan. In the capital, Kabul, our teams worked together with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health and local staff at the Wazir Akbar Khan and Rabia Balkhi Women’s hospitals. We also worked with the Mental Health Hospital (MHH) and Substance Misuse Center to reorganize key administrative and operating systems to boost capacity, expand the use of information technology, and modernize records systems. Other goals included achieving greater efficiency in the use of medical supplies and equipment, upgrading electronic procurement systems and establishing effective quality control programs. International Medical Corps developed a training plan for all departments and designed an equipment procurement program. Our focus was to strengthen hospital management and leadership, building a solid foundation for improved mental health and substance misuse care and improved patient management and technical capacity of mental health providers.
At the MHH, International Medical Corps is providing technical training for doctors, nurses and psychologists; English and computer training for all the MHH staff; and training on infection prevention and security by national and international experts. The trainings are regularly evaluated and improvements are made accordingly to improve MHH capacity. Furthermore, International Medical Corps is ensuring the MHH can appropriately function and has adequate space for treatment, resources and supplies, and is coordinating activities with all other stakeholders working in mental health in the region.

Community Midwifery Education

In the eastern border provinces of Khost and Paktika, we have operated highly successful Community Midwifery Education (CME) programs since 2007. The program builds the capacity of 30 midwife trainees per class. The two-year training of community midwives utilizes a competency-based approach to learning with one phase of pre-clinical subjects and three phases of clinical training. The curriculum strives to develop the trainees’ skills and knowledge of basic maternal and newborn care, as well as the management of complications in pregnancy and childbirth and other related critical clinical services for women and infants. Overall, the 2-year period of activity includes theoretical and practical training, assessment of skills competency, and field placement of graduated midwives in the designated facility/community settings.

Refugee and Returnee Services

Since 2002, International Medical Corps has offered basic health care services to those who have returned to Afghanistan after years as refugees in neighboring Pakistan. Today, we serve a target population of over 100,000 returnees residing in 10 camps, mainly in Nangahar, Kunar, and Laghman provinces. In the spring of 2010, we began operating mobile clinics to assist residents of four spontaneous returnee settlements in Kunar and Laghman provinces. Our work in all camps is also aimed at reducing both mortality and morbidity rates for vulnerable Afghans and improving overall living conditions by ensuring the provision of services for quality maternal and child health, nutrition, communicable diseases, mental health, disabilities and essential drugs.

Gender-based Violence

Throughout eastern Afghanistan, International Medical Corps has been implementing a capacity building program for gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and has established “One Stop Assistance Centers,” where GBV survivors can receive legal counseling, psychosocial support, and medical referral. In addition, International Medical Corps has worked with local communities to raise awareness about and mitigate stigma around GBV. We also established community groups to educate the public and change social behaviors.

Integrated Health Care

International Medical Corps offers primary and community health care services through a network of 17 health facilities and 155 health posts in all 8 districts of Nuristan Province, a remote, isolated northeastern border province as well as in Paktika Province. We operate health centers where midwives provide antenatal care and assist with deliveries of newborn children. Household surveys have indicated our work in the province has contributed to improvements in eight out of ten vital health indicators.

RESOURCES

Afghanistan Capabilities Statement

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Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake Response

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