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Bulletins From the World Association for Bronchology (WAB)

The Healthy Society Award and the Activity of the Karez Health and Educational Services in Afghanistan

doi: 10.1097/01.lbr.0000212554.30157.bd
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The Healthy Society Award of the Japanese Nursing Association and the Johnson & Johnson Group was founded in 2004 to give tribute to those who devote themselves for improving citizens' health and welfare.

I feel honored to inform my colleagues and the members of the WAB, concerning my receiving the International Volunteer Division Healthy Society Award, on March 1, 2006 in Tokyo.

The reason why I received this award was the voluntary activities performed by my colleagues and myself through Karez Health and Educational Services in the field of medical services and school enrollment in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Afghan people lost many cultured and socioeconomic resources during the period of 24 years of invasion and civil war, which was ended by the US military bombing in October 2001.

As one of the social indicators, the infant mortality rate in Afghanistan is 170/1000 births, and the 5-year mortality rate is 257/1000 births, while 1600 mothers die during delivery for every 100,000 births, which are among the highest levels in the world.

The Karez Health and Educational Services were established to improve medical and educational activities in Kandahar prefecture in the south-west of Afghanistan, in July 25, 2002. The Karez clinic provides free outpatient services at the clinic in the city of Kandahar and a mobile team diagnoses and treats patients at refugee camps and villages located at rural areas.

In the first 45 months, 77,821 patients were treated in this region, free of charge, among which 7.5% of them were given diagnoses and treated in remote villages by home visits, whereas the remaining 92.5% were those who visited the Kandahar clinic. Among the patients, male adults accounted for 11,986, female adults 40,621, boys 13,899, girls 11,315. Around 77% of the adult patients were women. The cause of this high ratio in women is related to obstetric and gynecological disorders and knowledge of hygiene. For the prophylaxis of this trend further study is needed.

The diagnosed diseases were acute respiratory infections; cough and cold (excluding pneumonia) 14,444 persons, acute watery diarrhea 5496, acute respiratory infection-ear, nose, throat 5140, peptic disorders 4800, anemia 4725. The infectious diseases were the most common in the region (Table 1.

Because of crowding and the increase in the number of the visited patients, the Karez Clinic decided to rebuild a new clinic in an area where there are no available medical services, to place emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of the pregnant women and help in delivery. We also wanted to improve the quality of public health education. This project is planned to be constructed in a 495-m2 building, and needs US$150,000, which is expected to be supported by the voluntary contribution of members and non-members of this NGO, and international authorities.

Education for children at local primary schools was carried out in 9 classes in 4 villages for 323 students (Fig. 1).

FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 1.:
Educational activities.

The Karez Services provided textbooks, stationery, and salaries of the teachers, whereas the classrooms were prepared by the village inhabitants.

Clean drinking water is only available in 13% of the entire area of Afghanistan. Drinking of unsterilized water causes infectious digestive diseases. We distributed sunlight catalyst equipment, which can sterilize the water with sunlight to the inhabitants of villages where the Karez Services has regular activities. As a result, digestive infectious diseases decreased.

The staff of The Karez Health and Educational Services appreciates the members of the WAB, and the publishing committee for giving the chance to express our appreciation concerning the Healthy Society Award and for support in the daily activities in the city of Kandahar and remote villages, and we hope for your further assistance. Address applications to and contact for further information: Khaled Reshad, MD, FCCP, Clinical Professor of the Medical Faculty, Kyoto University and Director of Reshad Clinic for Chest Diseases and Surgery, 9311-10 Motoshimada, Shimada, Shizuoka, Japan. May 1, 2006.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.