Afghan Minister of Public Health launches HPIC’s Afghanistan project in Kabul

The major media of Afghanistan, Dr. Suraya Dalil Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Public Health, and the Embassy of Canada’s Head of Aid, Heather Cruden, were all on hand to officially launch HPIC’s Capacity Building and Access to Medicines project in Kabul Nov. 30.

“Canada believes that children and youth are Afghanistan’s greatest resource and that investing in their health means investing in Afghanistan’s future,” said Heather Cruden, Head of Aid to the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan. “Canada is pleased to partner with Health Partners International of Canada on the Capacity Building and Access to Medicines project in Afghanistan as it enhances the Ministry of Public Health’s capacity to respond to the needs of Afghans by providing them with much needed access to essential, quality medicine and medical supplies.”

All components of the five-year $10 million project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency are progressing well. The project is in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. HPIC’s Kabul staff, all of whom are Afghan professionals, are in daily contact with the partners. A children’s hospital and emergency hospital are the recipients of the first shipments of medicine and hospital supplies donated by Canadian pharmaceutical and healthcare products companies.

“This project is one of the ways that the Ministry of Public Health is acting to save lives,” said Dr. Suraya Dalil, Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Public Health. “This donation will mean better treatment for infants and children at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital and a decrease in mortality rates.”

The project’s goal is to support the Ministry of Public Health to ensure greater and more equitable access to priority pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for Afghans, especially women and children. HPIC is helping to build the capacity of the Afghan government and to improve access to vital pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

“We know that a major challenge in the Afghan health system is a lack of quality medicines,” said Glen Shepherd, President of HPIC. “HPIC and its Canadian donors are committed to providing $25 million Canadian wholesale value of medicines and hospital supplies requested by public hospitals in Kabul.”

The project also includes developmental activities in the pharmaceutical sector, including work with the Central Medical Stores, the Pharmaceutical Donations Office and the Drug Quality Control Laboratory. In addition, HPIC will conduct an assessment study of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Afghanistan.

The launch of the project in Kabul received widespread news coverage in the country and was on the evening television news of the major networks.

PHOTO CAPTION: Julia Wight (left), acting Senior Director of HPIC’s Afghanistan project, Heather Cruden (centre), Head of Aid to the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan, and Dr. Suraya Dalil (right), Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Public Health review a list of medicine and supplies donated by Canadian pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital (IGCH).