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Media Examines Efforts To Treat Patients, Train Doctors In Afghanistan, Fight Malnutrition

The Los Angeles Times examines the International Medical Corps’ work in Afghanistan. “Although less well known than the Nobel-winning Doctors Without Borders, the [International Medical Corps] shares a reputation with its gutsy counterpart for working in places where no one else will go. … In parts of Afghanistan where government forces have little control, staffers say, they are protected by traditional village councils, known as shuras. Although Taliban militants occasionally detain the group’s trucks and personnel, they are usually released within a few days,” the newspaper writes.

“From the beginning, the corps emphasized the need to train local health workers who would keep providing care long after foreign aid groups have packed up. In the process, they helped pioneer a new approach to providing help in countries struck by war and natural disaster,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “Despite the risks, corps officials estimate they have trained about 1,500 Afghan health workers. Some of those graduates continued the group’s work under Taliban rule, making it one of the few international organizations to have maintained a continuous presence, said country director Robert Lankenau.”

The article describes the group’s founding and its work with USAID (Zavis, 1/5).

In related news, the BBC looks at the factors contributing to malnutrition in Afghanistan. According to the news service, 54 percent of children under the age of 5 in the country are chronically malnourished. “Poverty is so deep that even many farmers are unable to feed their families,” the BBC writes.

The article examines issues with international aid, politics and Afghanistan’s government (Greste, 1/5).

*EDITORIAL NOTE: Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman serves on the International Medical Corps’ board.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.