Development News from Afghanistan

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Source: Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin)
Date: August 14, 2007

Carolyn Miller, Merlin’s Chief Executive, reflects on a recent visit to Kunduz and Takhar Provinces in Afghanistan.

Media reports from Afghanistan often paint a grim picture. Kidnappings, roadside bombs and opium fields all make for good headlines, but they lead people to ask if it’s possible for aid workers to achieve anything there.

Yet, during the two weeks I spent visiting Merlin’s health projects in the north of the country, I was impressed by the significant improvements that are being made. Working alongside our local partner, Care for Afghan Families, we are making great strides in increasing the number of trained medical staff and improving the quality of health centres.

A highlight of my trip was visiting Merlin’s midwife training school in Taloqan. The centre is equipping women with vital obstetric skills, which they will use in villages where no such services previously existed.

Recent statistics confirm my view that work undertaken by Merlin and other agencies is making an impact in Afghanistan. In 2000, a survey entitled the State of the World’s Children, reported that one in four children there died before reaching the age of five. A more recent survey, undertaken in 2005, reported that this figure had reduced to less than one in five.

Despite seeing improvements like this, many people in Afghanistan still endure a shockingly poor state of health. The mortality rate of women during pregnancy, for example, is still amongst the highest in the world. It’s why we need to work even harder to make lasting changes.

So this trip made one thing very clear to me: in order for Merlin to extend our impact in Afghanistan, the international community needs to recognise the achievements that are being made there and continue to invest in the nation’s future.

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Written by afghandevnews

August 16, 2007 at 2:56 am

Posted in Development, Health

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