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U.S–Afghan Health Partnership

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Health care for Afghans has improved significantly since the days when the Taleban regime barred women nurses and doctors, and prevented women from leaving their homes to seek medical treatment. But Afghanistan's health needs are still great. Malaria remains a serious problem. Maternal health care is inadequate in many areas. Children continue to suffer from nutritional deficiencies and treatable diseases.

"During the Taleban time, we couldn't even leave the house," says Nafasgul, mother of two-year-old Firdaus. "I could not even take my child to a doctor," she says. As Nafasgul waits, her son is treated for symptoms of intestinal disease at a new clinic in Charikar, Afghanistan. It is the first of two-hundred-twenty-six clinics being built by the U.S. in cooperation with Afghan health authorities.

The U.S. has also rebuilt twenty health clinics and hospitals, and an additional one-hundred-ninety-nine are under reconstruction or rehabilitation. The U.S. has provided funding for the treatment of seven-hundred-thousand cases of malaria, and vaccinations against measles and polio for more than four-million Afghan children. U.S. assistance has supported basic health services for nearly five-million people in thirteen Afghan provinces, focusing mainly on the health needs of women and children.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai said that, "whatever we have achieved. . .the peace. . .the reconstruction. . .the fact that Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international community, is because of the help the United States of America gave us."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says the U.S. remains committed to helping Afghanistan:

"The only possible change that might occur in the next four years of [President] George W. Bush is to accelerate even further our assistance and support for Afghanistan."

"The entire nation of the United States," said Mr. Armitage, "supports what is going on in Afghanistan.