Francine Uenuma 202.450.9153 (M)
KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 3, 2014) — This week the British and the Afghan governments will co-host a global conference in central London for foreign countries to confirm delivery of critical social services to Afghanistan, and for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to scale-up health and education investment for every child across the country.
The end-of-year conference comes at a critical time, since 2014 saw both the election of a new Afghan President, as well as marking the end of the international combat mission in Afghanistan.
"Over the last decade, Afghanistan has seen enormous development gains, particularly in health and in education. But these gains are at risk of being lost if donors and implementing agencies do not ensure that development assistance is sustained," says Ana Locsin, Save the Children's Afghanistan country director.
"Afghanistan is still very reliant on the support of foreign donors to deliver basic services across the country and it is feared that the withdrawal of foreign troops may prompt possible declines in aid that could leave the country facing tough budget constraints. It is very important that donors continue to support the Basic Package of Health Services, the main channel to deliver primary health care in Afghanistan."
Despite progress to reduce child mortality, one in ten Afghan children still die before the age of five, and skilled health personnel attend only 40 percent of births.
Malnutrition is also a particular concern since 59 percent of Afghan children face stunted growth, and malnutrition reduction measures have been very slow to take effect, according to Locsin.
"The nutrition component of the Basic Package of Health Services needs to be fully funded. We need to bring down malnutrition rates in the coming years and the Afghan Ministry of Health needs the support of all development partners to make some significant progress. Much more needs to be done."
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