Steady decline in health standards for three Afghanistan provinces
MSF data emphasizes the impact of the worst drought in 30 years.
4 September 2001
An MSF preliminary report that contains baseline data for nutritional health status surveillance in Afghanistan in the months to come was handed over to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad, Pakistan in late August. The report shows a deterioration in the health status of the children under-five in Badghis, Herat and Kandahar, three Afghan provinces where MSF works. The report needs to be updated regularly as the situation evolves. The deterioration in the nutritional health status is not surprising as the devastating effects of Afghanistan's worst drought in over 30 years have been widely publicised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and WFP. But the MSF report clearly highlights the direct impact on the health of large numbers of people, who are gradually slipping from a food crisis into famine. The talks with the WFP and other partners no longer focus on confirming the situation, but rather on what must be done to stop it. Afghanistan could be facing a deficit of one million tons of cereals over the coming winter months - a quarter of the total national requirement. MSF has opened additional therapeutic and supplementary feeding centres (TFCs and SFCs) in Afghanistan. A regional TFC has been operational in Herat for two weeks, and a second TFC and an SFC are to be set up in Mazlakh camp outside Herat.