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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-29-98

Afghanistan's Health Care System Continues to Deteriorate

Health care has become an increasingly tragic issue in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. With the departure of many humanitarian aid groups, due to dangerous and restrictive conditions, and with the dismissal of all female health care workers, staff and medical supplies run in extremely short supply. Unsanitary conditions, brought about by years of war, only work to increase the spread of illness. An influx of patients plus a decrease in medical personnel has painted a bleak picture for Afghanistanís sick.

The International Red Cross and the World Health Organization remain in Afghanistan to contribute what they can but with so few hospitals and medical supplies it becomes impossible to care for all of those that need it.

Female nurses and doctors have been allowed to return to work because of the high demand for care, but they are required to wear a burqa, the garment that covers them from head to toe. They can treat only women, all of whom are cared for at one hospital.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, who left Afghanistan over a month ago, expressed a desire to return to help with humanitarian efforts, but said it could do so only under a guarantee of safety for its workers.

Media Resources: AP - September 28, 1998 and Voice of America - September 25, 1998


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