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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Face of Afghanistan (12) - Crippled by Disease


Disease in Afghanistan is rife and destroys lives and livelihoods. It strikes down more than just individual lives. Chronic diseases are widely recognized as a substantial hindrance to economic growth.

Afghanistan has the highest rates of tuberculosis in the region and is one of the most highly tuberculosis-burdened countries in the world with over 2% of the population being infected or risking infection every year. Malaria is another prevalent public health threat, on the rise in more than 60 percent of the country, with over 13 million people at risk. The annual incidence is estimated to be two to three million cases.

A large number of other health insecurities are related to water, stemming from poor hygiene and inadequate access to safe supply. Over 60 per cent of Afghans use unsafe drinking water.

Disease impacts disproportionately weaker individuals like children. Medical supplies and facilities are scarce in major centers and almost non-existent in rural areas and smaller villages.

Among so much death and disability, how surprising is it that society as a whole becomes ruthless?

[continue reading The Face of Afghanistan]
[see the video]
[see the photo gallery]

The Face of Afghanistan (11) - The Land of Mines




For ten Afghans, of which many are children, tomorrow will be the last day they can walk on their legs. It will happen with no warning sign, while they are walking in the fields, perhaps on their way to work or to school. One third of them will die in those circum-stances.

Over seven thousand Afghans were killed or wounded by landmines between 1998 and 2003. Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. About 10 million landmines were still in place as of the be-ginning of 2005. In addition, millions of other explosive devices, such as rockets and grenades, litter the country. In 2003 about 60% of the rural population around Kabul lived in proximity of unexploded bombs.

Estimates put the number of disabled people at around 4% of the population – approximately 1 million people. No wonder that Kabul is full of legless beggars dragging their stumps on the dusty pavements.

[continue reading The Face of Afghanistan]
[see the video]
[see the photo gallery]