Afghanistan's health challenge.
The media focus on continuing instability in Iraq following the unseating of Saddam Hussein earlier this year has all but obliterated coverage of the first armed-conflict casualty in the post-September 11 war on terrorism—Afghanistan. Media coverage of the collapse of the Taliban in late 2001 ensured that the parlous state of Afghanistan’s health became very familiar, with the world’s fourth highest infant and under-5 mortality rates and the highest ever recorded maternal mortality rate. Subsequent media coverage has concentrated on the continuing lack of security, with only passing reference to the poor health status. Scratch the surface of Afghanistan’s depressing health statistics, however, and an impressive example of post-conflict reconstruction is revealed. Afghanistan has risen to the challenge to provide for its people’s health and in so doing has set up a challenge for other similarly affected countries to follow suit. (excerpt)