Population: 35.53 million
Significant progress in Afghanistan’s health services over the last one and half decade translated in substantial decline in infant, child and maternal mortality rates. The provision of public health services, with a focus on Primary Health Care, expanded substantially under challenging circumstances. However, many of Afghanistan’s health indicators remain extremely worrisome. Surveys show large imbalances across socio-economic levels with a clear urban/rural divide. Gender inequality is a pervasive problem and women and girls experience avoidable morbidity and mortality due to gender-based discrimination and harmful practices.
2018 was marked by a very high level of insecurity both in the provinces and around the capital, Kabul. Opposition groups, such as the Taliban, are present in a large part of the country. The local branch of the Islamic State Organization is well entrenched and mounts targeted attacks in the center of the country, particularly focusing on the Hazaras ethnic minority, and in Kabul. The number of civilian victims increased by 11% compared with 2017. 2018 was also marked by political instability caused by the legislative elections in October which engendered protests and violence due largely to dysfunctions in the election process. There is a lack of adequate and accessible health establishments and the poorest families in remote regions are unable to provide their children with healthcare, especially as it relates to surgical treatments.
- There are an estimated .295 doctors per 1,000 population and .36 nurses and midwives per 1,000 population.
- Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live birth): 53
- Under 5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 70
*Estimates Developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division)
USFC’s has been active in Afghanistan since 2001 and our programming has grown into one of the most developed programs in any country. The majority of our healthcare initiatives are carried out at the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), an ultra-modern hospital constructed by USFC. In furtherance of this mission and to accommodate families from remote areas, USFC opened the Afghan Children’s House in 2008. On March 10th 2018, the Afghan President and First Lady awarded the Mir Masjedi Khan medal to Éric Cheysson, Chairman of USFC. This medal is the highest civilian distinction available in the country.
At the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) in 2018, USFC:
- Admitted 8,442 patients
- Provided 545 heart operations and 2,318 other surgical operations
- Offered 160,000 consultations
- Carried out 400,000 lab analysis
- Scanned 77,000 patients using advanced imaging technologies.
- Implemented “ECHOES GYN-OBS” a remote ultrasound platform where Afghan teams can receive ongoing training on obstetrical ultrasound techniques. 251 remote scans were performed.
Since the establishment of the Afghan Children’s House, USFC has:
- Supported 8,784 children from 34 Afghan provinces allowing for 45,000 consultations and 8,500 operations.
French Medical Institute for Mothers & Children (FMIC)
Recent years have seen great expansion of the hospital. Most recently, USFC opened our programming to adults in response to the growing in the country and to help ensure the financial future of the hospital. With the support of USFC, the French and Afghan government, and the Aga Khan Development Network the FMIC acquired a new MRI machine allowing for better image quality and improved diagnostic precision.
In 2018, 67 missions constituting over 1,352 days were carried out at the FMIC including those specializing in heart surgery, adult and pediatric interventional cardiology, anesthesia and postoperative recovery, pediatric-neonatology, gynecology and obstetrics, anesthesia in child-birth, orthopedic surgery, hygiene, laboratory studies, nursing, biomedical engineering and pharmacy. A single mission was carried out in 2018 to offer retinal surgery and trainings. As a complement to this, videoconferences were organized between French specialists and ophthalmologists working at the FMIC and in other hospitals in the vicinity.
The Postgraduate Medical Education Program (PGME) positions FMIC as a regional and national training center. In March 2018, 12 residents qualified and in 2019 USFC opened a new specialty – cardiovascular surgery
In 2018, the Women and Children’s Pavilion broadened its actions to treat vulnerable women awaiting gynecological treatment. In order to facilitate this expansion USFC appointed an additional nurse and two social workers at the pavilion. A medical team member is assigned to each patient to handle everything from transport to and from their home, shelter, meals, and medical surveillance with a permanent nurse. This specialized service has doubled the number of beneficiaries – now reaching some 50 people per week.