The BMJ appeal 2021-22: “Doctors must raise their voices to advocate for those in Afghanistan”BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o78 (Published 14 January 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o78
- Jane Feinmann, freelance journalist
- London, UK
For an organisation funded entirely by private donations, the scale of Médecins Sans Frontières’s humanitarian operation in Afghanistan at the start of 2022 is significant.
It has five major healthcare projects in some of the country’s largest cities: Helmand, Herat, Kandahar, Khost, and Kunduz. These projects deliver both emergency and everyday healthcare—including surgery, maternity services, and emergency treatment for malnutrition—to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Afghan people.
This involves the paid employment of 2300 Afghan staff, along with 100 international staff, at a time of the near complete unravelling of the country’s economy and healthcare system. MSF also purchases and imports the drugs and medical technology required by these services in planes that it charters itself.
So far, so normal for MSF, which has been carrying out similar interventions since it was set up in France in 1971. It currently employs 45 000 …