- Open Access
Humanitarian and primary healthcare needs of refugee women and children in Afghanistan
© The Author(s). 2017
- Received: 29 August 2017
- Accepted: 18 October 2017
- Published: 11 December 2017
This Commentary describes the situation and healthcare needs of Afghans returning to their country of origin. With more than 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan and approximately 450,000 Afghans returned from Iran in 2016, the movement of people, which has been continuing in 2017, presents additional burden on the weak health system and confounds new health vulnerabilities especially for women and children. Stewardship and response is required at all levels: the central Ministry of Public Health, Provincial Health Departments and community leaders all have important roles, while continued support from development partners and technical experts is needed to assist the health sector to address the emergency and primary healthcare needs of returnee and internally displaced women, children and families.
Stewardship and response is required at all levels; the Ministry of Public Health, Provincial Health Departments and community leaders all have important roles. Continued support from development partners and technical experts is needed to assist the health sector to address the emergency and primary healthcare needs of returnee and internally displaced women, children and families. Mental healthcare, emotional support, and child and family protection are additional but critical needs in a country already struggling to provide basic emergency and primary healthcare for its most vulnerable populations.
Availability of data and materials
AHS and KE drafted the commentary. DL and PC contributed and checked most recent data. All authors provided substantive inputs on context and recommendations of the commentary during several rounds of revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
All authors are working with government or United Nations organizations based in Kabul, Afghanistan with the aim of improving access to quality healthcare. Opinions expressed in this Commentary are their own. ZA is the Director for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health Directorate at the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health. KE, KY, and AHS are working with UNICEF’s health programme on maternal and child health, with a focus on access to and demand for primary healthcare. RP, PC, and DL are with the World Health Organization and working to strengthen health services, address public health issues, and support and promote research for health in the country.
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