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.”