September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
WHO Health Update Afghanistan; January 15, 2002

World Health Organization (WHO)
15 Jan 2002
WHO health update Afghanistan

A World Health Organization team of essential drugs specialists has arrived in Kabul to begin work on re-establishing a drugs supply system in Afghanistan. They will carry out a first assessment- the team will be followed by later missions.

Afghanistan currently has no system in place to control the quality of drugs available in the country. The aim of the WHO mission is to help the Ministry of Health develop the capacity to undertake random testing to ward against potentially harmful medicines, such as unsuitable, expired or fake drugs.

Afghanistan imports its drugs from neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Iran, or further abroad, often through private trading without proper oversight. Although there are quality drugs available, there is no way of knowing whether medicine bought privately is reliable.

Making sure the population has access to appropriate drugs depends on the ability of the government to regulate medical supplies. The WHO team will support health officials set up a standardized system to monitor drug consumption and shipments to avoid shortages. This standardization should allow proper planning which will take into account seasonal diseases, such as malaria or recurrent diseases such as tuberculosis.

Another concern is to standardize treatment protocols. This means ensuring that doctors treat patients for the same diseases in a similar manner all over the country. This will entail training of local doctors and ensuring the required drugs are available, even in remote areas.

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