From the Executive Director
It has been more than 12 years since international community launched its intervention in Afghanistan, and now many of the armies and donors are planning to withdraw, leaving the country to rely more on its own, fragile resources.
MSF, which has worked in Afghanistan for more than 30 years, is one of the main healthcare providers in the country today. Despite optimistic accounts from the international community and the Afghan authorities about the achievements of rebuilding the national health system, our study found that there is inadequate access to healthcare and that many humanitarian needs are left unmet. What does this mean for an ordinary Afghan woman, her children and their father?
In Hong Kong, of course there are some issues about accessing healthcare, which include a long waiting time to get a medical appointment or have an operation in the public sector. In Afghanistan, access to healthcare means crossing some very formidable barriers. It’s about the long distances that people have to travel to reach a functional clinic with qualified medical staff and supplies, the number of checkpoints from hostile groups that they need to pass through on their journey, and the security risks they are taking when going out looking for a doctor.
By saying there is inadequate access to healthcare in Afghanistan, we mean that many Afghans don’t have the luxury to have a doctor next to them or proper treatment when they are sick. The situation today is alarming and MSF is trying to focus international attention on the practical issues facing the Afghans and the urgent business of saving lives.
This issue of Borderline will also look at the real risks of epidemic outbreaks in the aftermath of natural disasters like typhoons or earthquakes which kill lots of people. Are those bodies then a hazard to the people who survive? Medical Info will clarify this topic from a medical perspective.
We also want to present to you what we are witnessing in the Central African Republic, a small country in a deep humanitarian crisis as communities are turning on each other, mainly due to religious and ethnic tensions. In the Photo Feature, you will be able to confront the acute situation on the ground.
MSF is committed to reach the most neglected and forgotten populations who are in urgent need of care and Borderline brings you some of the realities faced by our medical teams deployed in so many parts of the world today. For them to succeed, your help and support remains indispensable.
Rémi CARRIER, Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières Hong Kong