Provision of health care in rural Afghanistan: needs and challenges

Am J Public Health. 2004 Oct;94(10):1686-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.10.1686.


Afghanistan's health system is severely limited in terms of preventive and curative services, referral systems, and human resources. Most of the country's citizens reside in rural areas, a majority of which are served by "basic health units" (small and simple facilities that provide primary care), and these rural residents face additional challenges regarding timely access to quality health care. The analysis described in this article, which focuses on data derived from 2 rural health units during a 1-year period, revealed that infectious diseases, mainly acute respiratory infections, were a primary concern and that there is a clear need for increasing access to health services. In addition, our results showed that women are underrepresented as patients and appear to be at higher risk than men of tuberculosis.

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*