Aid Group in Afghanistan Says Many Still Lack Access to Health Care


KABUL, Afghanistan — The patients in the four hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan are the lucky ones, by all accounts, having arrived at well-stocked facilities that maintain international standards with scrupulously free care.

But when the French medical aid organization, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, surveyed 800 of those patients last year, the results depicted a dismaying picture of unmet health care needs.

Nearly one in five of the Afghan patients (18.4 percent) had a close relative or friend who died last year because they were unable to reach medical care – in some areas because of high costs, even though health care is supposed to be free in Afghanistan, and in other areas because the war kept them from getting to facilities.

“As troops pack their bags, M.S.F. sees a war that still rages in many parts of the country and a failure to meet people’s increasing medical and humanitarian needs,” the group said in a report released on Tuesday.

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