24 October 2017

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Monday, April 17, 2017
Kabul (BNA)  The Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan, together with WHO and UNICEF, will today launch a Sub-National Immunization Days (SNID) campaign to vaccinate over 6.8 million children under the age of 5 against polio in high-risk districts in 27 provinces around Afghanistan, a statement from the ministry said. According to the statement, the campaign will be conducted in all provinces in the Southern and South-eastern regions, most districts in the Eastern region as well as selected high-risk districts across the country, including Kabul city. The campaign will also be carried out in Kunduz province along with four bordering provinces as a response to a polio case that was reported from the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz in March, the statement added. “The most recent polio case from Kunduz, a 14-month-old girl, highlights the urgency of making sure that every single child under the age of 5 is vaccinated during every campaign, everywhere in Afghanistan. We must all play our part in ensuring that our children are healthy and stay protected from polio,” said Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz. During the campaign, over 52,000 trained polio workers will go from house to house in their communities to vaccinate children. On Friday, polio teams will re-visit households where children were missed the first time the vaccinators visited to ensure that all children are vaccinated and protected, the statement continued.
All caregivers who miss having their children vaccinated should visit their local health centre where the vaccine is available free of charge. The polio vaccine is safe and it does not have any side effects, even for sleeping or sick children and newborns. Polio vaccines have also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars, including the Ulama. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where polio is still circulating. Most of Afghanistan remains polio-free, but wild poliovirus continues to circulate in localized geographical areas.
Three polio cases have been reported in 2017, one from Helmand, one from Kandahar and the most recent one from Kunduz. In 2016, 13 polio cases were reported, down from 20 in 2015, the statement concluded.

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Kabul (BNA) The most well-equipped neuron-surgical hospital constructed by UAE was inaugurated yesterday by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In opening ceremony held on this occasion with participation of United Arab Emirates representative and officials for ministry of public health, the country’s chief executive said UAE by constructing Shaikh Zaed hospital has shown its recommitment to continued cooperation and assistance to Afghanistan.
Praying to the souls of those UAE diplomats martyred in Kandahar incident, chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said the UAE diplomats visiting the province for implementation of development projects were martyred by Taliban.
Dr. Abdullah by praising UAE for its assistance and cooperation with Afghanistan said the country had helped Afghanistan in various sectors in particular reconstruction process and construction of the hospital was an example of the assistance.
He instructed leading panel of the public health ministry to necessarily make use of the hospital’s possibilities and equipment so that Afghan citizens could see its positive results, adding that the national unity government was trying to strengthen and expand the respective hospital in order to address health problems of Afghanistan people inside the country.
The country’s chief executive also instructed ministry of public health to take practical steps towards collecting and reproducing health trashes as the issue would face health of the people and environment with serious threats, adding that negligence in this regard could not be accepted. In the ceremony, UAE acting ambassador to Kabul Ahmad Nasir al-Khwaja and minister of public of health also briefed related to importance and need of the hospital.
It is worth mentioning that the 100-bed hospital has been constructed by Shaikh Zaed bin Sultan Welfare Organization.

Monday, April 10, 2017
Kabul (BNA)   The Ministry of Public Health and World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated World Health Day at an event here in Kabul yesterday to increase awareness and mobilize action around depression, a common mental health disorder and the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, a statement from the Ministry of Public Health said.
According to latest WHO estimates, more than 300 million people are living with depression globally, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. While accurate data on depression and mental health disorders is not available in Afghanistan, according to recent WHO estimates more than a million Afghans suffer from depressive disorders while over 1.2 million suffer from anxiety disorders, the statement added.
Depression affects people of all ages but the risk of becoming depressed is increased by multiple factors such as poverty, insecurity and conflict, unemployment, physical illness, gender-based violence and drug use.
Depression causes mental anguish and impacts people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally.
“The Ministry of Public Health has recently trained over 700 professional psychological counselors and 101 specialized mental health doctors. Of these, 300 are currently working in government-run health centers while the others are working for different health NGOs,” said Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health, as quoted in the statement.
“We need to fight the stigma and discrimination associated with depression and other mental health problems and ensure all people have access to help when they need it,” he added.
According to MopH statement, WHO has identified strong links between depression and other non-communicable disorders and diseases. Depression increases the risk of substance use disorders and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and it is also an important risk factor for suicide.
“Our campaign slogan for this year’s World Health Day is ‘Let’s Talk’.  For someone suffering from depression, talking to a person they trust, whether it is a friend, family member or health worker, is often the first step towards treatment and recovery,” said Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Country Representative.
“There is an urgent need for increased investment towards supporting mental health interventions in Afghanistan to ensure support is available for people with mental health disorders. We need to treat mental health with the urgency it deserves,” Peeperkorn was quoted in the statement as saying.
Depression is a common mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for 14 days or longer. In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide, the statement concluded.

Sunday, April 09, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Resource center for reproductive maternal, new born child and adolescent health was inaugurated in Prof. Ghazanfar Institute of Health Sciences yesterday.
In opening ceremony of the center, minister of public health Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz while considering inauguration of the center as positive step towards improvement of practical and visual learning facility for students said teaching quality depended on quality of health services.
He further said that the center would provide facility of learning new skills to doctors and students.
Head of Prof. Ghazanfar Health Institute Dr. Matiullah Sharq said information bases, resources centers and libraries could play considerable role in social, political, economic and cultural development of societies
Afterwards, former minister of information and culture Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen stressed on book-reading culture and asked Afghanistan youth to further read book.
In the ceremony, deputy minister of youth affairs for information and culture Dr. Kamal Sadat also asked all doctors and health workers to go the most remote areas of the country to serve their needy countrymen.
Dr. Shamsulhaq Arianfar also considered inauguration of the center as positive, adding that he would help the center in publishing information documents. 

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