World Health Organization

                        Afghanistan Crisis

                    Health Update

                                20 December 2001


The World Health Organization is particularly concerned about the health
situation in Kunduz. Lack of medicines and cold weather are threatening the
health of the population, especially in IDP camps. WHO was informed that
164 people have died in Kunduz IDPs camps and the majority are children.
The biggest killer and most common disease in the camps are acute respiratory
infections, including pneumonia. There are two IDPs camps in Kunduz: Baghi
Sharkat and Amirabad. WHO will be providing medical supplies to health
facilities in Kunduz shortly.

WHO is also still concerned about the health of IDPs in the Herat region.
WHO is monitoring and supervising the construction of latrines in Maslakh camp.
This construction should be completed by the end of this month.

The WHO sub- office is also providing essential drugs to clinics in the city of
Herat and anti- TB drugs and lab reagents for the TB control programme in
Herat regional hospital.

Essential drugs will also be sent to IDP camps in the Spin Boldak region and
in Kandahar. WHO is planning to provide emergency health kits to district
health facilities managed by the Afghan Ministry of Health. Each kit provides
enough medical supplies for 10,000 people for three months.

In Faizabad, WHO is working to strengthen the quality of health care for the
general population. It is increasing the number of health workers and has
been training them to treat the major diseases in the region, malaria,
tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases.

In the province of Badakhshan, tuberculosis is a major source of concern.
WHO is providing anti-TB drugs and material, including microscopes, to
health facilities in northeastern region. WHO is also giving training to lab-
technicians. More than thousand patients are under DOTS (Directly Observed
Treatment Short -course). WHO has 4 TB control centers in the
province. A WHO team based in Faizabad will soon undertake an assessment
of TB in the province.

Three days ago WHO sent drug supplies to Ghazni where several cases of
TB and rabies have been reported in outlying remote areas.