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Aid for cleft children in South Asia

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Facts about Afghanistan
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From 2009 to 2018, around 6,500 children were killed and another 15,000 injured in Afghanistan. According to Unicef, the country was the deadliest war zone in the world in 2018.
Afghanistan is a minefield. To date, more than 400,000 children have been victims of landmines. They have lost arms or legs – or even their lives.
3.7 million
According to Unicef, attacks on schools tripled from 2017 to 2018. Over 1,000 schools were closed. This affects 3.7 million school-age children.
Around 2,500 children with cleft lip and palate are born in Afghanistan each year. Due to the difficult situation in the country, most have no access to treatment.
In 2019 we were again able to make more than a hundred operations possible in Afghanistan, despite the difficult conditions. Overall we have enabled more than 1,300 operations since the start of our project in the country in 2010.
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Our work in Afghanistan

We have been active in Afghanistan since 2010. The security situation remains difficult. Attacks by the Taliban and other radical groups are part of people’s everyday lives. Many families have lost everything and live in extreme poverty. Medical care in the country is poor. Many hospitals have been destroyed and there is a lack of qualified doctors.

The efforts of our three medical teams in Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Faizabad require courage. Our four surgeons are always in mortal danger in their work for cleft children. In particular when they visit remote villages to educate families of cleft children and convince them of the need for surgery, they are exposed to the risk of attacks.

The security situation and the accessibility of patients in remote areas will remain the major challenges in the further development of our Afghan project locations in 2020.

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Our partners in Afghanistan

Despite the problematic conditions in the country, we managed to start a training project for Afghan surgeons in 2010 with the support of the Federal Foreign Office. For security reasons, the training took place outside the country. Training locations included the Tajik capital Dushanbe and treatment centers in India. The trained surgeons, Sebghatullah Natory (Kunduz) and Dr. Habibullah Atif (Faizabad) have now been independently performing operations since late 2012. Both surgeons have started aid projects at their home locations and regularly operate cleft children who would have no access to medical care without their work.

In 2015 we were able to win two new partners for our project in Afghanistan in Nooria Zia and Dr. Wahed Ershad in Mazar-i-Sharif. The two surgeons were trained in cleft surgery for three months in our Indian cleft center in Visakhapatnam.

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Masar-i-Sharif: Dr. Wahel Abdul Ershad (left), Dr. Nooria Zia
Dr. Ershad and Dr. Zia examining patients
Kunduz/Kabul: Dr. Sebghatullah Natory
Faizabad: Dr. Habibullah-Atif
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Your donation for cleft children in Afghanistan

Children in Afghanistan still suffer terribly. Cleft children suffer particularly: they have little chance to receive a safe operation in the country. Please help these children with your donation. Every child counts!

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Country portrait Afghanistan

Afghanistan is characterized by decades of war and political unrest: high child and maternal mortality, malnutrition, polio, violence against women and girls are the result. Despite the end of the Taliban regime in 2001, the security situation is still very tense, attacks are part of people’s everyday lives. Many families live in extreme poverty in the underdeveloped country.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country between Central and South Asia, bordering China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. About three quarters of the country are covered by mountains that are difficult to access. In the northeast-southwest direction, Afgahnistan is criss-crossed by the Hindu Kush mountains. Around 80 percent of the population live in rural areas.
652,860 km²
Official languages
Pashto, Persian
Predominant religion

Children are especially hard hit. 600,000 girls and boys under the age of five are severely malnourished, 30 percent of the children have to do child labor, and more than one million are orphans.