After almost 10 years of working in the hospital in Ahmad Shah Baba, eastern Kabul, Afghanistan, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) handed over the last of our activities to the Ministry of Public Health. “Taking the decision to leave is never easy, especially after so long. But our intention when we opened this project was to support and not to replace the Ministry of Public Health.
We have worked closely together over the years and it is now time to hand services back”, explains Prue Coakley, MSF’s Head of Programme. “We are grateful to the community and the shura (community elders) for their support during this process.”
Ahmad Shah Baba was the first project MSF opened when we started working in Afghanistan again in 2009, after a five-year absence. We upgraded Ahmad Shah Baba to a district hospital, with a focus on the emergency department, maternity services and treatment protocols, increasing the medical services available so that fewer patients had to be referred elsewhere. As well as working in the hospital, from 2014 MSF also ran mobile clinics carrying out antenatal and postnatal consultations, vaccinating women and children, and screening for malnutrition.
From mid-2018, we began gradually handing over the responsibility of various departments to the Ministry of Public Health, with specialists supporting the ministry’s staff to ensure that they had the knowledge they needed. This work continued over the course of the year and into 2019. At the end of December 2018 responsibility for the outpatient department of the hospital was handed back to the Ministry of Public Health.