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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > April
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 11, 2002


USAID Announces A $5-Million Initiative To Improve Public Health Services in Afghanistan

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a $5 million dollar initiative to address the immediate health needs of Afghans. USAID will support a six-month quick impact initiative, the Afghanistan Health Services Enhancement Project, to rapidly expand basic health services to reduce mortality and morbidity from malaria, pneumonia, and diarrheal diseases, particularly among children and women. This initiative will expand the ranks of community health workers. It will include a national assessment of health facilities to provide the Ministry of Public Health with information for health and human resource planning, as a prerequisite, to reestablish the health sector in Afghanistan.

USAID Administrator Andrew S. Natsios, in describing the dire health situation in Afghanistan said, "A robust health program focused on training health workers and providing immunizations and medications is required to drive down disease and save children's lives. The Afghanistan Health Services Enhancement initiative is a positive step toward reaching that goal."

USAID, in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, will work through its implementing partner, Management Sciences for Health, to enable Afghan and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide basic health education and care for diseases, in Afghanistan. Pharmaceuticals and medical supplies will be purchased and minor rehabilitation of health facilities will be conducted as part of this initiative.

"This program is one way in which the U.S. is helping to meet the immediate needs of the men, women and children of Afghanistan," said Dr. E. Anne Peterson, U.S. AID's Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health. "By engaging communities in program decisions and hiring local representatives, the programs will be equitable, and will help to build much-needed local capacity over the long-term."

The Afghanistan Health Services Enhancement will train community health workers, both men and women, who will be identified by the communities. These health workers will be given the training, medicines, materials, and other supplies needed to deliver education, basic health services, and simple treatment for common illnesses in their villages, extending services from existing clinics out into underserved rural areas.

Afghanistan has had a long-neglected health care system -- the country is estimated to have only 12 percent of its needed public health facilities.


Released on April 11, 2002

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