Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health Opens Surveyor Training

Minister's speech highlights the importance of national health assessment

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (JULY 24, 2002) — The Technical Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Firouz Firouzddin, today opened a training session by reading a speech from the Minister, Dr. Suhaila Siddiqi, for approximately 150 Afghans, representing all regions of the country, who will serve as surveyors in a national health resources assessment. The assessment will be conducted during the months of July and August. The information they gather will then be compiled and used by the Ministry and donors to develop national, regional and provincial health plans. Various donors and NGO partners providing support to the assessment surrounded Dr. Feroz as he welcomed the surveyors to the practical training program on behalf of the Minister.

"I would like to thank our many NGO partners, UNICEF, and all of our surveyors for their roles in this assessment. The data gathered by these surveyors in the next two months will lay the foundation for further planning of the health service delivery system in Afghanistan," the Minister's speech read. "I would especially like to thank Management Sciences for Health for the technical leadership they have provided as well as our donors - USAID, UNFPA, the European Commission and JICA for making this assessment a reality."

The Ministry, with UNICEF and a number of NGOs, provided surveyors for the training. These NGOs are the Afghanistan Health and Development Services (AHDS), Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI), Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (CHA), Ibn Sina, MSH, Mercy Corp, and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA). Other technical and logistical assistance is being provided by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), WHO, AIMS, SAVE the Children/US, and Health and Development Service (HANDS/Japan).

Currently, accurate information about health facilities, such as location, services provided, qualifications of personnel, needs for rehabilitation or renovation, availability of essential drugs, and availability of health workers at the village level, is largely unavailable or outdated, but is greatly needed for the planning process.

During July and August, the surveyors will visit health facilities, community-based health providers and pharmacies nationwide in order to obtain an accurate and comprehensive database of available health resources in all districts. Survey teams will consist of two persons, who will be assigned to cover provinces and the districts within provinces where information on a facility exists. It is estimated that the results of the survey and recommendations by the Ministry will be made available by the end of September.