US-Afghan sign healthcare MoU for refugees
The MoU signed by the Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard and visiting Afghan Minister of Public Health Dr. Suraya Dalil, ensures that returnees will continue to receive full range of medical services as State/PRM-funded (Population, Refuges and Migration) clinics transition to Ministry of Public Health management in 2013.
“The signing of this agreement demonstrates the need to link our assistance programs to development strategies in Afghanistan,” Richard said.
In signing this MoU, the US agreed to provide healthcare services to the most underprivileged and at risk population, returning refugees, through 26 health clinics near the border, the US official said. Now more Afghan women survive pregnancy and child birth, she added.
“We have made a meaningful difference in the lives of ordinary Afghanistan, especially women and children,” Dr Dalil said at the signing ceremony, held at the State Department. Referring to a recent study, Dalil said the mortality rates among women and children have declined in recent years.
On a three-day trip to Washington to attend the maternal health summit organised by USAID, Dr Dalil was presented a Certificate of Appreciation by the US-Afghan Women’s Council for her commitment to saving lives and improving the health of women and children in Afghanistan.
A day earlier, she received the award from USAID for Afghanistan being one of the four countries in the world for successfully reducing maternal deaths. The other three countries were Rwanda, Dominican Republic and Cambodia. “We were very pleased that Afghanistan was among the four countries to receive the award,” she said told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The reduction in mortality rate, she said, is mainly due to two things -- educating and training midwives, and the improvement in basic healthcare services. “Now we need to build on these achievements,” she said.
“In the last decades Afghan women have made tremendous progress. We have a constitution that protects women’s rights, we have more than eight million students going to schools and 40 percent of them are girls. We have 27 percent of seats earmarked for women in lower house. We have three women cabinet ministers and one female governor,” she added.
“Those are remarkable hard earned achievements. Now we really want to sustain them. It’s an important time in history. We know that in 2014, the troops will come out of Afghanistan.
“We want women to be part of all the discussions and negotiations that are taking place about Afghanistan. We want to be engaged,” said Dr Dalil.
The Afghan minister said from 2002 to 2010, maternal mortality rates dropped from 1,600 to 327 deaths per 100,000 live births, the under five mortality ratio reduced from 172 to 97 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the adult life expectancy rose from 42 years to 62 years, according to Afghanistan’s 2010 Mortality Survey.
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