Khost is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country bordered by Waziristan and Kurram in Pakistan. A military operation on Pakistani side against the Taliban in June 2014 led to massive displacements to Afghanistan as well as to other areas close to the border. This situation resulted in the influx of Externally Displaced Persons (EDPs) in Khost and its neighbouring provinces. Johanniter is providing health services since then.
Due to the continuing conflict EDPs are not able to go back to their place of origin and a large number are settled in Gulan Camp where Johanniter and its partner organisation Afghanistan Center for Training and Development (ACTD) are running a Comprehensive Health Centre. Nine months after the new project started, there are visible positive changes especially regarding knowledge and attitude of the people. Continuous awareness raising and health education, provided by the mobile health teams, have played an important role.
“Especially women are no longer as aloof as they used to be when the mobile health teams started providing health services. Their personal hygiene has improved and they are becoming more concerned now about their own health”, explains Helen Guillermo, Senior Program Manager of Johanniter in the country. Furthermore, they approach the midwife and ask for “red tablets” which contain acid and minerals. They confirm when taking these tablets they get less giddiness and weakness.
Aside from the EDPs Johanniter provides health services to the nomadic Kutchi population in three districts of Khost, operating two mobile health clinics in locations easily accessible to them. During a joint mission to Khost, Johanniter and ACTD visited a nomad Kutchi village where the mobile health teams have been providing their health services. The community elders and members expressed their appreciation for bringing basic health services to their remote communities. The Kutchi hardly have any pasture since local militia chiefs took control over large parts of the land. Social discrimination and a lack of opportunities for education and paid work deteriorated their situation. The mobile health care services are a positive sign in this situation.