Afghanistan News Today
We are shaken by the tragic Afghanistan news today. In the space of 8 days, the Taliban seized more than half of the Provincial Capitals of Afghanistan before entering Kabul on August 15th. We watched helplessly as the situation unfolded. Plunged into great disarray, we are now forced to recognize our work supporting public health in Afghanistan is threatened.
Afghanistan Health Care Issues Stemming from the Crisis
It only took a few days for the Islamist movement to progress through the country before taking over Kabul on Sunday, August 15. Faced with these tragic events, painful stupefaction seizes us as we reflect on our deep bond with the country.
One of the most meaningful chapters in United Surgeons’ mission has been written in Afghanistan for over 15 years. Our story of helping alleviate many Afghanistan health care issues began in April 2006, when the French Medical Institute for Mother and Child (FMIC) opened its doors.
USFC Health Initiatives in Afghanistan
Near the ruins of the old Kabul hospital, at the foot of the Ali Abad hill, USFC built a haven of peace where modern medicine is practiced. The hospital has become a referral facility and transitioned from being a children’s hospital to an adult hospital as well. In 2016, a new wing was built to house the Mother-Child Unit, dedicated to gynecology, obstetrics, and neonatology.
One of USFC’s health initiatives in Afghanistan involves bringing people from remote provinces directly to where they’re going to be cared for. In order to welcome and operate on children from remote areas without access to healthcare, as well as their families, USFC created The Afghan Children’s Home in 2008. In September 2016, the facility was expanded and became the “Children’s Pavilion”.
Since its inception, through training and capacity building during surgical missions, USFC has strengthened the supply of qualified medical personnel in the country. Over the years, this infrastructure has allowed us to treat and save hundreds of thousands of children. But it has also been the site of many encounters between our teams and Afghan medical personnel, whom we have trained and with whom we have collaborated and formed friendships. But the future of this relationship is now uncertain.
We want to continue our activities, we want this hospital to remain a beacon of hope for the Afghan people – for countless women and children. But the situation is overwhelming and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
A Sadly Uncertain Future Supporting Public Health in Afghanistan
After 15 years of partnership in Afghanistan, USFC and its teams cherish the link we have forged with this country and its people. It is difficult for us to accept that despite our will to maintain our health initiatives in Afghanistan, their future is uncertain. In this troubling situation, our thoughts are turned to our colleagues, friends, and all those children at the hospital, waiting for an operation. For them, we hope to be able to continue our work.
Some news from the field
Despite the Afghanistan news today, our expatriate teams present on the ground were able to leave Kabul and are currently in a safe place, soon to return to French territory. They are tired but keep their morale high and show a lot of courage. Our Afghan team that remained on site is also showing immense dignity and strength. In the face of uncertainty, most of them continue their work taking care of patients and assessing Afghanistan health care issues.
United Surgeons for Children wishes to continue to support the activities still underway at the FMIC and the Children’s Pavilion as much as possible, to still provide care to patients.
Today, we’re still uncertain how we will be able to continue our work, take care of the patients, and buy the necessary equipment and supplies for the hospital, but we are trying to find solutions to still support our Afghan team’s work.
We are also in constant contact with the French authorities and other NGOs active in Afghanistan, to exchange important information for our teams and our work. Afghanistan is a country dear to all of our hearts, and during this time, we are working in solidarity with other groups to still have the greatest impact possible.
We will provide further updates as the situation develops, in the meantime, we’d like to thank you for your support during this tumultuous time.