Afghan health programme under threat

Published: 3 July 2003

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was told today in Kabul that the work of the largest-single provider of health care in the Afghan countryside was under threat because of poor donor support.

The Afghan Red Crescent's network of 50 clinics, which provide services to about two million people each year and remained operational under the Taliban, may be forced to cut back drastically. This is because there has only been a 25 per cent response to an appeal for US$ 10 million to support their work launched earlier this year by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"We made the point that the Afghan Red Crescent is not getting adequate recognition for its work. Much of it takes place in remote parts of the country. There are 14,000 volunteers providing the only health services to about 12,000 villages. This unique network sustained much of the population during the very difficult years of the '90s," said Bob McKerrow, International Federation head of regional delegation for south Asia.

President Karzai acknowledged the work of the Afghan Red Crescent and as a former refugee himself, he thanked the secretary general of the Pakistan Red Crescent, Dr. Fazil Moin, for the support provided to millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He also accepted a garland of flowers from the secretary general of the Indian Red Cross, Dr. Vimala Ramalingham.

Leaders of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in south Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, are meeting this week in Kabul for the first time to discuss strategy and cooperation. Much of the discussion has centred around population movements, health and disaster response

Afghanistan: Appeals, updates and reports
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