Charles A. Bertrand, M.D., FACP, DIM-CD (Ret.)
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College
and at the Medical University of South Carolina


The Lancet is the most famous international medical journal — it was founded in 1823 and is published in London. This week's (volume 362 page 841) issue is about the present status of medical care in Afghanistan.

It begins by stating that "the media focus ... has all but obliterated coverage of the war against terrorism in Afghanistan" and then discusses health issues in this country. It points out post-conflict reconstruction situations and key factors in this quietly optimistic process. In this rather pragmatic process success has been achieved both in immediate service delivery and in long range planning.

For example, under the Taliban, measles deaths were about 30,000 per year. In the past year 11 million children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years have been vaccinated against measles with 94% coverage achieved — epidemic transmission has been stopped.

The Basic Package of Health Services for Afghanistan was published in March of 2003 and may well serve as a blueprint for other countries. The Ministry of Health has been supported by US non-profit organizations.

I dare say that the present health care in this country is better now than ever before — too bad the media focuses too much on negative aspects of life in this country — after all, this represents tremendous improvement in health care compared to the past status.

For proper medical attention see your doctor on a regular basis. The above represents a general medical discussion.

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