USAID, ISAF Urged to Rethink Medical Policy for Afghanistan Contractors

An Afghan doctor prepares to write a prescription for an elderly man during a medical outreach in Afghanistan. Civilian contractors should be given health care similar to what U.S. Agency for International Development staff and International Security Assistance Force troops receive, says a professor of George Washington University. Photo by: Corey Idleburg / ISAF / CC BY ISAFCC BY

Civilian contractors working in Afghanistan should have access to the same medical treatment provided to U.S. Agency for International Development employees and International Security Assistance Force troops, according to a psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor at George Washington University.

“While USAID and ISAF might loath to be in the business of providing health care to their NGO partners, the current system of emergency medical stabilization in military clinics and discharge to civilian care is unacceptable,” Dr. Amir Afkhami argues in an opinion piece published in “Psychology Today.”

Afkhami explains that Afghan hospitals are known for their lack of specialized medical manpower. The country’s medical licensure system is also below standard, he says.

“It is absurd for Brussels and Foggy Bottom to ignore the medical welfare of NGO contractors injured in the line of duty while at the same time acknowledge their vital role in the ongoing military effort,” Afkhami adds. “Reassuring development specialists that they will be fully cared for will improve moral and slow the hemorrhage of qualified individuals, especially Afghans, by showing them that they will not be abandoned in the face of injury caused by an enemy who sees them as being equal targets to the men and women in uniform.” 

About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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