Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, July 02, 2007

Afghanistan faces healthcare crisis

As the attacks continue to mount in Afghanistan, healthcare workers are being forced to cut programs, the Washington Post reported on June 29. At a time when civilian victims of military operations need the support of the system, health professionals are not able to provide support due to intimidation by militants.

Many clinics are closing as threats against them become more and more common. “Day by day it's becoming worse,” said Nadera Hayat Burhani, Afghanistan’s Deputy Health Minister. “In each country, it's a rule that you let the medical staff do their work. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan, it is not that way. Here, they kill the medical staff.”

Although 80 percent of Afghans have access to basic healthcare, an estimated 22 million are unable to access hospitals to treat more serious ailments.

Attacks on medical personnel seem to be intended to punish the government and coerce people into supporting the Taliban’s cause. In the past two years, 39 medical workers have been killed.

Increased civilian injuries and deaths, caused by U.S. and NATO forces, are causing many Afghans to lose hope in living in a free and peaceful society. Caught in the middle, the Afghan people have very little chance to escape injury as the healthcare system crumbles amid escalating violence.

“The hospitals didn't help us. The government didn't help us. The foreign people didn't help us,” said Mohammed, a victim of continued violence. “Only my neighbor came to help me.”

For the full article, click here.



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