Adopted by the 53rd WMA General Assembly, Washington, DC, USA, October 2002
and rescinded at the 63rd WMA General Assembly, Bangkok, Thailand 2012
Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries with many millions of its population living below the poverty line. Before the beginning of the “War on Terror”, tens of millions were facing starvation. The war has further disrupted communications and transport links, increasing the risk of starvation especially within rural communities; and
Health risks are increased by poverty, starvation and by civil unrest and military actions. Health care services in Afghanistan have suffered over a decade of serious neglect. Women have been excluded from education, including higher education and training in the health care professions. Medical schools and other institutions training health care workers have been destroyed and health care educators lost, leaving no effective resource for training new health care workers and for updating and retraining those who have been denied the ability to practice for long periods of time; and
Some Afghani health care workers who left Afghanistan under previous regimes are now interested in returning home, at least for short periods of time, and if their safety can be guaranteed, to contribute to the development of sustainable health care provision, and;
The international community is committing considerable resources to rebuilding the Afghan infrastructure.
The WMA calls upon national governments and international agencies to commit funding to rebuilding the education and training system for health care workers so that Afghani doctors, nurses and others can return to providing health care to the Afghani population.
The WMA also calls upon national governments to enable Afghani refugees in their countries with refugee or equivalent status to return for short periods to Afghanistan to take part in infrastructure rebuilding programmes without jeopardising their refugee status.