According to the human development reports, in a span of 20 years, Afghanistan’s health index has doubled. As of 2013, the country has a .630 health index. Health index, we should recall, is measured by life expectancy at birth expressed as an index using a minimum value of 20 years and a maximum value of 85 years. To put in simpler terms, the number of years a newborn could expect to live in Afghanistan is 60 years. The difference between men and women in terms of life expectancy is minimal with women having 62 years and men having 59 years. The World Health Organization ranks Afghanistan health status as one of the worst in the world. Maternal mortality at 1,600 for every 100,000 live births per year (UNICEF 2002) is among the highest and infant under five mortality rates are around 165 and 257 per 1,000 births per year (WHO 2002). The epidemiology profile – according to research conducted by the WHO – is dominated by communicable diseases.
For example, tuberculosis and malaria are still the main ones infecting people even though they can be easily prevented and treated for with simple and low cost methods. There is also a consensus that HIV/AIDS is emerging as a serious health concern, due to the increasing number of drug users. Epidemics are still frequent including cholera, measles, meningitis, and other types of diseases. The human body measurements data point to high levels of both acute and chronic malnutrition. Based on this information, the health sector needs to recover from years of neglect, under-funding, institutional vacuum and fragmentation. Health system is characterized by inadequate infrastructures with dilapidated facilities unevenly distributed across the country, impaired access to health services due to poor communication and security, chronic shortage of skilled health providers (particularly female), poor information system, and weak implementation of the newly approved national health policy. All of these have resulted in insufficient coverage and health services delivery.
The health expenditure is 0.5% of the GDP and represents 6.1% of the current expenditure, for a public health expenditure of $1 per capita. There are one doctor and one nurse per 6,000 and 2,500