In Afghanistan, real health gains from foreign aid
More than a decade after the American invasion, Afghanistan remains at war. Corruption is endemic, drug production is at historic levels, armed militias and other groups are positioning for the withdrawal of US troops and election results are once again in dispute.
Yet in spite of all these problems, the intense involvement in Afghanistan of the international community has resulted in significant gains on basic measures of human development. This is no more so than in the area of health care access and services.
For instance, life expectancy in Afghanistan has increased markedly. Child mortality is greatly reduced, with 40,000 more Afghan babies and 16,000 more of their mothers surviving childbirth each year. Access to basic health care has greatly increased, even in remote rural areas of the country.
A recent article in the journal Global Public Health outlines the reasons for foreign aid effectiveness in Afghanistan's health care system. International Relief & Development (IRD) Director of Health James Griffin and several coauthors describe these outcomes in terms of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness adopted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2005.
Article: Aid effectiveness in rebuilding the Afghan health system: A reflection, Suraya Dalil, William Newbrander, Benjamin Loevinsohn, Ahmad Jan Naeem, James Griffin, Peter Salama & Faiz Mohammad Momand, Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, DOI:10.1080/17441692.2014.918162, published online 12 Jun 2014.