22-year-old Sharifa is one of the thousands of Afghan mothers struggling to overcome the hurdles that are posed by a healthcare system weakened by decades of war, poor facilities, and social and cultural barriers that are difficult to break.
This old Uaz is beautiful. Today, she stands proudly in the garden of our hospital in Anabah, but how far she has travelled in Afghanistan.
It is also thanks to this rugged vehicle that, 20 years ago, we managed to make our way through the Panjshir valley and open our first hospital in Afghanistan.
In Anabah, a small village of mud houses at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains, we have transformed an old barracks into a real hospital: complete with an emergency room, operating theatres, wards, and pharmacy, as well as a laundry, ironing room, canteen, and shower facilities.
There were no materials to renovate the structure when we arrived, so we worked with what the war had left on the ground. From vehicles formerly used to transport tanks, we built beams for the ceiling. With wooden crates that contained mortars, we constructed a roof covering. From the tanks’ cannons, we made exhausts.
After journeying thousands of kilometres, trucks with drugs, equipment and machinery began to arrive. “Now it really starts.”
Then, the arrival of the first wounded, who began to fill the operating rooms and wards. Over 300,000 victims of war have been treated in our hospital to date.
A red stripe runs along the painted walls.
The reason for travelling this road? To bring help to those who are sick and those who need it most.
After twenty years, we continue to cover many literal and figurative kilometres, even if no longer with this same car. Our ambulances transfer the injured from our First Aid Posts and our dedicated staff continue to provide free care, despite everything.
Sometimes it’s really tough, but we have no intention of stopping.