Afghanistan gallery: 'This is our reality'

All names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the patients.

Suddenly I heard gunfire. I stood up and ran towards the door.

Layla, 5 years old

I stood at the door, the men told me there was nothing wrong.

I started running, and then I fell down.

Our houses are destroyed. Our children are hurt. Our wounded are helpless.

One is putting bombs under our feet.

Her Father The other is dropping them on our heads.

Where can we go?

Afghanistan: ‘This is Our Reality’

photos by Kate Holt

Today, the war has spread to almost all provinces in Afghanistan. Thousands of people have to travel long distances on dangerous roads to reach functioning health facilities. In 2009 Médecins Sans Frontières started working in Boost hospital in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province. Around 1200 patients are treated monthly.

We come from Kanashin district.

There was no medicine there for me. I’m pregnant.

I’m in a lot of pain, and the provincial hospital is too far for us to reach.


Travelling for long distances only makes our sickness worse.

Sometimes, women deliver on the way, and sometimes they reach the hospital.

She told me she had abdominal pain.

Her Mother

I told her ‘maybe your delivery is near, that’s why you’re sick’.

I told my husband ‘go to the doctor on the side of the road.

Get her an injection or something’.

Then I said ‘No, take her to the other doctors, they have more knowledge, this doctor doesn’t know’.

Vaccination is needed everywhere, but there is a war in Afghanistan.

There is no peace.

Sometimes it’s quiet, but then the fighting starts again.


We need a good clinic, in a safe place.

We were forced to leave our family home.

It’s been one year since we’ve been to our village.

Two months ago we arrived in this new place.

Still there is fighting, this is our reality,

still there is war.

In a conflict situation, people need access to neutral health facilities not linked to any of the warring parties.

Boost is one of the only functioning referral hospitals in the Helmand province. To reach the hospital, people have to face check points , insecure roads, landmines and high transport costs. Free lifesaving medical care is provided in all departments including surgery, maternity, pediatrics and emergency services. In Afghanistan, MSF uses only private donations and no government funding.

Music : ©Kevin MacLeod