Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met today with the health care advisor for the governor of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province Dr. Hedayatullah and the head doctor of the Province’s central hospital Dr. Inayattulah. The two health care workers from Afghanistan’s Helmand Province arrived today in Estonia for a two-week training session as part of the Foreign Ministry and MTÜ Mondo’s joint programme to create a supplementary training system for doctors in Helmand Province.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed Estonia’s ongoing desire to help build up the health care sector in Helmand Province. The foreign minister noted that currently the Foreign Ministry is supporting two projects in co-operation with MTÜ Mondo that are helping to establish first aid training for adults and create a supplementary training system for doctors. “At the moment, opportunities for medical workers in Helmand Province to receive any supplementary training after completing the appropriate school are extremely limited. Due to the complicated security situation and cultural factors, all of Afghanistan continues to struggle with a lack of medical personnel, particularly female doctors, nurses, and midwives,” said Paet. “This training visit is the first step in our endeavour to help create the needed training centre and support the training of nurses and midwives,” he added.
Health care advisor for the governor of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province Dr. Hedayatullah and the head doctor of the Province’s central hospital Dr. Inayattulah passed a message of gratitude on to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet from Afghanistan’s minister of health and presented a letter of thanks from the governor of Helmand to Estonia for improving the central hospital of Helmand Province and providing it with necessary medical equipment.
Paet states that thanks to co-operation between Estonia and Great Britain, opportunities to get medical treatment in Bost Hospital have greatly improved. “The hospital’s technical capabilities now meet the standards set by the health minister of Afghanistan, and this allows the hospital to take the next step of improving the quality of care and making its work more effective,” stated Paet. “In addition to supplying equipment to the medical establishment, it is also very important to focus on finding the necessary personnel and training them,” he emphasised.
Paet also emphasised the importance of the other project that is developing the medical skills of Afghans. “It is very important to give attention to the residents’ ability to administer first aid when needed, so that they can take care of their own health and the health of their families in this way,” stressed the foreign minister.
The Afghan health care workers brought up examples of the most recent positive developments in Helmand Province’s health care sector, in which Estonia has played an important role. The medical technology equipment at Helmand Province’s central hospital is some of the best in the province. Estonia has helped the hospital to procure, among other things, an autoclave, oxygen generators, and a portable oxygen delivery system. Lashkar Gah´ in Helmand Province has begun to offer an ambulance service—this service is not available anywhere else in Afghanistan except for Kabul. Across the province there are 52 clinics offering medical aid, 16 of which have been recently opened.
More than 1.4 million people live in Helmand Province, but there are only slightly more than 1 300 health care workers there. Fewer than 100 of them are doctors and only four of them are female doctors.
Since March 2008, an Estonian health care expert has been working in the city of Lashkar Gah´ in Helmand province. The expert’s responsibility is implementing Estonia’s development co-operation project on location and consulting with the board of the United Kingdom’s development team and Helmand’s provincial government about developing the health care system.
Additional information about Estonia’s contribution to building up Afghanistan: http://www.vm.ee/?q=en/node/4080
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