Health Care Initiatives Making a Difference in Afghanistan

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Posted on 10/23/2013
Infants in Afghanistan

The people of Afghanistan have faced great adversity in the past several decades, but many new initiatives are aiming to help families living in poverty. Improvements to the health care infrastructure in Afghanistan are crucial to saving lives and giving children a chance to become healthy adults, and efforts from the United States are helping to make the situation better. But there is still much to be done.

Foreign Aid Aims to Improve Health Care
When most people think of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, they think of a strong military presence. However, the country has provided millions of dollars in foreign aid to improve public health care in the Middle Eastern nation, which has seen much of its infrastructure destroyed during decades of warfare.

The U.S. has invested approximately $236 million in aid for basic health care through a program called Partnership Contracts for Health, and recent studies have shown that these contributions have already made a major difference in the lives of children and families living in poverty. Funds have been largely aimed at providing immunizations, prenatal exams and other preventative care, according to The Washington Post.

It seems like these efforts are paying off, as the general health of the Afghan people is improving at a rapid rate. According to the 2010 Afghanistan Mortality Survey, conducted by the country's Ministry of Health, life expectancy jumped from 42 years to 62 years from 2004 to 2010. The 20-year increase is partly due to a number of health care improvements, including a large focus on the reduction of child deaths. Now, approximately 100,000 Afghan children who would have once been at risk for untimely deaths are kept alive thanks to proper health care, according to The Atlantic magazine.

Just the First Step

While improving health care options for children in need is a step in the right direction, there is still much to be done in Afghanistan, where ChildFund has worked since 2001. International aid is often complicated by politics, and with Afghanistan still in need of billions more dollars for further improvements, support from nongovernmental organizations is of paramount importance.

Children and their families throughout Afghanistan endure a tremendous amount of adversity on a daily basis. Improving access to lifesaving health care, as well as providing nutritious food and clean drinking water, can go a long way toward ensuring these children and their families are given a chance to break out of the cycle of generational poverty.

To help ChildFund provide Afghan children with the resources they need to survive and become healthy and independent adults, please consider making a donation to our Children's Greatest Needs fund. Your support can help a child in need by allowing ChildFund to allocate funds toward the greatest needs in one of the countries we serve.