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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Afghanistan: Jalalabad Clinic a Bastion Against Poverty’s Worst Ravages

Looking at the pictures of people who have received treatment at the clinic HOPE International Development Agency supports in Jalalahad, Afghanistan, is inspiring but sobering too. It makes us ask that perennial question: what if the help was not there?

How does a person, like the young woman shown above, burn their entire arm and not have any place to go to have it treated? How is it that a boy’s foot can be injured while chopping wood with an axe and nobody is there to clean and bandage it? Billions of people scrape by without much or any money, but if something goes terribly wrong with their bodies, that’s when poverty becomes a real horror show.

Thankfully, the Jalalabad clinic is running well and caring for poor people who would not be able to afford the fees at other clinics. This is a place of mercy, where our staff treat their patients with a high degree of sensitivity and devotion. When staff tell us about what they spend the lion’s share of their time treating, we know that they are dealing with a very deprived population indeed: parasites, waterborne diseases, malaria, TB, the ailments that most of the Western world has long left behind. They are meeting critical needs — from presiding over complicated deliveries that, without assistance, would have killed both mother and child, to counseling women from traditional communities regarding their options for birth control.

Because the help is there, real people are being saved from the worst kind of poverty—the loss of health, of life itself. We are grateful for the work our clinic staff are doing and honoured to support them in it.

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