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Getting the doctors to return

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7333.319 (Published 09 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:319

Nayeem Azim, chairman of the Afghan Medical Association, explains to Alex Vass the difficulties of reconstructing the Afghan healthcare service

Dr Nayeem Azim fled Afghanistan in 1992. He left behind a country short of trained staff and with a healthcare system in tatters.

“From 1992 most of the doctors and lecturers and many nurses left or were executed or expelled from work and set to work in the fields. There are about a thousand Afghan doctors and a few thousand nurses in Pakistan alone. Thousands also are in Europe and North America. I myself didn't think that being a doctor would make me a target for any group. I treated people from all groups and all backgrounds. But unfortunately I worked in the capital and I was educated, so I was a target.”

He has kept in contact with some of the doctors left behind. “Ninety per cent of the healthcare system's infrastructure has been …

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