Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has published a story about Mamman Mustapha, a project coordinator in Herat in the western part of Afghanistan. His assignment was initially for three months, but with the U.S. departure, the spread of fighting to many major cities, the new Taliban government, and the near collapse of the health care system, he extended his assignment for six more months to help aid people in need.
In Herat, MSF runs a 74-bed therapeutic feeding center for malnourished children and a general medical clinic on the outskirts of a refugee camp for internally displaced people. Mamman was responsible for coordinating medical operations, negotiating with the government, and providing security for the medical team.
“Negotiation was part of my daily job, and we regularly explained to all the parties in the conflict that we are here to provide emergency medical services, we are neutral to the conflict, and we are independent in of our actions. We care for patients irrespective of their religion, gender, or political affiliation, based on their medical needs alone.
“Throughout the fighting, our staff was able to keep coming to work and our doors remained open, providing lifesaving assistance to the sick and wounded even during the height of the conflict. It still makes me incredibly happy that we were able to do this.”
With the new government, Mamman had to establish new contacts from scratch. And the needs grew enormously when funding was frozen. For instance, the number of malnourished children treated at the MSF therapeutic feeding clinic increased significantly.
Read Mammon’s complete story here.
Navigating Conflict and Crisis in Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2002.