Since 1986 the ICRC has been present in Afghanistan and has maintained sub-delegations throughout the country. Its principal activities include, support to medical structures, assistance to the most vulnerable, agricultural rehabilitation programmes and veterinary services, visiting detainees and in the framework of the ICRC's mandate, the promotion of the humanitarian law and rules, and strengthening of the Red Crescent Society in Afghanistan.
The Orthopaedic Project
The orthopaedic project of the ICRC in Afghanistan started in Kabul during 1988. Based on the expressed needs of the war-victims it was decided to extend its service country-wide. In 1991 an orthopaedic branch was opened in Mazar-i-Sharif, in 1993 in Herat and in 1995 in Jalalabad. As due to a shift of the front-lines many amputees awaiting treatment could not reach the existing facilities and a temporary orthopaedic project opened in Gulbahar in November 1999. Presently four Ortho centres remain operational and attend the needs of several hundreds each year.
Since 1995, due to the big demand and the almost complete absence of other structures, the assistance has been extended to treat non-amputees and non-war-wounded patients. The main pathologies are poliomyelitis, spine injuries, cerebral palsy, congenital and acquired deformities. In 1998 some 698 additional Polio patients came to Ortho centres.
During a conflict in areas with no adequate health facilities or when the local hospitals cease to function, the ICRC may set up or assist maintaining operational surgical facilities to ensure emergency treatment for the war wounded. Similarly ICRC may provide orthopaedic facilities for those who have fallen victim to the conflict and/or by land-mines or unexploded ordinance (UXO).
Since the beginning of the activities in 1988 up to date
The ICRC Ortho Centre Programmes in Afghanistan is a major component of its operational activities, which aim to address the direct and lasting consequences of the conflict, by compensating for weaknesses in the social safety net/and reinforcing local community structures.
Last update : 15/02/2000