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A roadmap to reintegrate displaced and refugee Afghans

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
A displaced family has taken shelter in a ruined house on the outskirts of Kabul. Photo: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank


As the world marks World Refugee Day on June 20, we must remember that it is not only the refugee crisis that is hampering development efforts in many countries. There is also a silent emerging crisis of people driven from their homes to another part of their own country, people known as internally displaced persons (IDPs). It is a growing issue that several countries are facing, with enormous social and political pressures to address.

In Afghanistan, there are an estimated 1.2 million people who are internally displaced because of insecurity or are being forced to leave their homes due to natural disasters. This is in addition to the nearly 6 million people who have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, making one in five Afghans a returnee. In 2016, more than 620,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan alone.

The massive influx of returnees and IDPs is placing tremendous pressure on Afghanistan’s already fragile social and economic infrastructure and is a threat to regional stability.

When I first took up my position as Country Director of the World Bank for Afghanistan, I was struck by the plight of returnees and IDPs and by how hard-pressed the Afghan government was in dealing with them. During my first days in office, back in November 2016, I visited a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center on the outskirts of Kabul. The center serves as the first entry point for returnees where they can receive assistance—including cash—and attend awareness and safety sessions to help them better integrate in their new communities.  

پلان کاری برای اسکان مجدد بیجاشدگان و مهاجرین افغان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
یک فامیل بیجاشده در یکی ازنواحی کابل در یک ساختمان مخروبه. عکس: شرکت رومی/بانک جهانی 


ازآنجایکه ٢٠ جون روز بین المللی مهاجرین نامیده شده است؛ باید به یاد داشت که بحران مهاجرین، تنها مانع پیشرفت در یک کشور نیست. بحران دیگری که آهسته در حال رشد است، همانا بیجا شدگان داخلی است بیجا شدگان داخلی به کسانی گفته میشود که از خانه های خودشان به مناطق دیگر همان کشور بیجا میشوند. با وجود فشارهای زیاد سیاسی و اجتماعی برای رسیدگی به آن، این موضوع در چندین کشور جهان در حال رشد است.

در افغانستان، تقریباً ۱،۲ میلیون نفوس بیجاشده وجود دارد، که یا بخاطر مشکلات امنیتی و یا هم بخاطر حوادث طبیعی، مجبور به ترک خانه های شان شده اند. شش میلیون افغان دیگری که از سال ٢٠٠٢ میلادی بدینسو، دوباره به کشور شان برگشته اند را نیز میتوان به آمار فوق علاوه کرد و میتوان گفت که در هر پنج افغان، یک تن آنها از بازگشت کنندگان میباشد. در سال ٢٠١٦میلادی، بیش از ٦٢٠،٠٠٠ افغان، تنها از پاکستان به افغانستان بازگشت نموده اند. این هجوم بزرگ بیجاشدگان و عودت کنندگان، فشار سنگین را بالای جامعه و اقتصاد ضعیف افغانستان وارد کرده، خطر بزرگی به ثبات منطقوی این کشور محسوب میشود.

زمانیکه به حیث ریس دفتر بانک جهانی برای افغانستان تعیین شدم، گرفتاری های دولت در رسیدگی به مشکلات عودت کنندگان و بیجاشدگان در این کشور، مرا سخت نگران ساخت. در جریان روزهای اول کاری ام در نومبر ٢٠١٦ میلادی، براى بازديد از یکی از مراکز کمیشنری عالی سازمان ملل برای پناهندگان  در کابل رفتم. این مرکز به عنوان اولین محل ورود برای عودت کنندگان افغان ایفای وظیفه میکند. کمک های نقدی و غیرنقدی، آگاهی دهی و جلسات ایمنی برای بازگشت کنندگان، در همین مرکز صورت میگیرد.
 

Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan stays strong

Annette Dixon's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Despite government efforts with support from the international community, Afghanistan's development needs remain massive. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

I am still shaken and saddened by the many lives lost to the attacks in Kabul two weeks ago and since then there has been more violence. As we grieve these tragedies, now is the time to stand strong with the people of Afghanistan and renew our commitment to build a peaceful and prosperous country.

To that end, we announced this week a new financing package of more than half-a-billion dollars to help Afghanistan through its struggle to end poverty, increase opportunity to help stabilize the country, and ensure all its citizens can access basic services during a time of economic uncertainty.

Afghanistan has come a long way since 2001 and achieved much progress under extremely challenging circumstances. Life expectancy has increased from 44 to 60 years, maternal mortality has decreased by more than three quarters and the country now boasts 18 million mobile phone subscribers, up from almost none in 2001.

Yet, the development needs in Afghanistan remain massive. Nearly 40 percent of Afghans live in poverty and almost 70 percent of the population are illiterate. The country needs to create new jobs for about 400,000 people entering the labor market each year. The situation is made more challenging by the return of around 5.8 million refugees and 1.2 million internally displaced people.

Our new support is in line with our belief that Afghanistan’s economic and social progress can also help it address security challenges.  Our financing package meets the pressing needs of returning refugees, expands private-sector opportunities for the poor, boosts the development of five cities, expands electrification, improves food security, and builds rural roads.

New Zealand has much to offer the world

Annette Dixon's picture
 
New zealand - World maps on line
New Zealand Map.  Photo Credit: Academia maps GeoAtlas


When people think about New Zealand’s most famous son, Sir Edmund Hillary, they mostly think about the quiet Auckland bee-keeper who conquered Everest in 1953.

Of course, there’s much more to the man. He raised money for the Sherpa communities in Nepal that built schools, hospitals and much more. His commitment to the people of South Asia was also reflected in his successful term in the 1980s as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India.

As the most senior New Zealander in the management of the World Bank, I have come to appreciate Sir Edmund’s commitment to the people of South Asia and believe it shows how much New Zealand can offer the world.  This will not only make the world a better place but can also help New Zealand too.

The unheard voices of women caregivers for people with mental illness

Varalakshmi Vemuru's picture
SHG meeting of people with mental illness and caregivers. (Photo: TNMHP)

Thirty-year old Vijaya (name changed) spent 10 years of her life not talking to anybody. Her parents were daily wage laborers, scraping together a sparse living in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu. Unaware of any treatment, and afraid of being stigmatized or shunned by their community, they did not disclose their daughter’s illness to anyone. Instead, Vijaya suffered in silence, confined to the house, and hidden from public view.
 
It was only when the Tamil Nadu government’s Mental Health Program (TNMHP) reached out to their community that Vijaya’s life underwent a dramatic change. After six months of working with the program’s community facilitators, Vijaya’s parents took her for treatment, and within a year, the young woman began interacting with others more frequently.
 
Poor mental health places a huge burden on individuals, families, and society. From developed countries to emerging market economies, mental disability – ranging from common mental disorders such as depression to severe mental illnesses and retardation – has profound impacts on people’s economic and social well-being.
 
As cited in “Out of the Shadows: Making mental health a global development priority” in 2010 alone, depression cost an estimated US$800 billion in lost economic output. What’s worse, these costs are expected to double by 2030.
 

په افغانستان کې د نړیوال بانک د بیا همکاریو د پیل د پنځلسمې کالیزې نمانځنه

Raouf Zia's picture
Also available in: English | دری




نړیوال بانک په افغانستان کې خپل فعالیتونه پر ۱۹۷۹ میلادی کال د پخواني شوروي اتحاد له یرغل څخه وروسته و ځندول. ددې ادارې فعالیتونه د ۲۰۰۲ میلادي کال د می په میاشت کې د افغانانو له ضروري اړتیاوو څخه د ملاتړ او ددې هېواد له دولت سره ددې هېواد اتباعوته د خدمتونو د برابرولو له پاره د پیاوړو او ځواب ویونکو بنسټونو د رامینځته کولو په منظور بیاپیل شول.

د می میاشت په کابل کې د نړیوال بانک د فعالیتونو د بیا پیل له نمانځنې سره سمون لري چې په ۲۰۰۲ کال کې وروسته له ډیر ځنډ څخه دفتر پرانیستل شو. د نړیوال بانک له ۱۵ لاسته راوړنو او مهمو فعالیتونو سره په تیرو ۱۵ کلونو کې آشنا شۍ.

تجلیل از پانزدهمین سالگرد اغاز مجدد همکاری های بانک جهانی درافغانستان

Raouf Zia's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو




بانک جهانی فعالتیهای خویش را در افغانستان در سال ۱۹۷۹ میلادی پس از تهاجم شوروی سابق به تعلیق در اورد. فعالیتهای این اداره در ماه می سال ۲۰۰۲ میلادی بمنظور حمایت از نیازمندی های ضروری افغانها و کمک به دولت این کشور در راستای ایجاد نهاد های قوی و پاسخگو غرض فراهم اوری خدمات به شهرواندان این کشور مجددا اغاز گردید.

ماه می مصادف به بزرگداشت از پانزدهمین سالگرد از سرگیری فعالیت های دفتربانک جهانی در کابل در سال ۲۰۰۲ میباشد. با ۱۵ دست آورد و فعالیت کلیدی بانک جهانی در ۱۵ سال گذشته آشنا شوید.

Celebrating 15 Years of reengagement in Afghanistan

Raouf Zia's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو




Shortly after the Soviet invasion in 1979, the World Bank suspended its operations in Afghanistan. Work resumed in May 2002 to help meet the immediate needs of the poorest people and assist the government in building strong and accountable institutions to deliver services to its citizens.

As we mark the reopening of the World Bank office in Kabul 15 years ago, here are 15 highlights of our engagement in the country:

In India, eliminating tuberculosis isn't just a health issue — it's an economic one

Jorge Coarasa's picture



On February 1st, India’s finance minister presented the Union Budget for 2017-2018, and announced the government’s plan to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025. This is a welcome move. While ridding people of the burden of any disease is a worthy goal by itself, TB elimination provides perhaps one of the strongest cases for public intervention from an economic point of view.

All communicable diseases present what economists call externalities: infectious people can infect other people who in turn infect others and so on. In fact, economist Phillip Musgrove used TB in particular to illustrate this: “no victim of tuberculosis is likely to ignore the disease, so there is no problem of people undervaluing the private benefits of treatment. Rather, the cost of treatment--and the fact that they may feel better even though the disease has not been cured-- may lead people to abandon treatment prematurely, with bad consequences not only for themselves but for others. The rest of society therefore has an interest in treating those with tuberculosis, and assuming at least part of the cost.” Reducing TB incidence could generate benefits of $33 per dollar spent, prompting The Economist to put TB among their list of ‘no-brainers’. According to the Stop TB Partnership, ending TB globally could yield US$ 1.2 trillion overall economic return on investment.

Women can play a greater role in realizing South Asia’s potential

Annette Dixon's picture
Mumbai Train
The suburban train system in Mumbai is used by millions of women and men everyday, who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities. 

Last week, I took a journey on Mumbai’s suburban train system, which carries a staggering 8 million women and men, equivalent to the entire population of Switzerland, every day to where they live, work, and spend time with family and friends. Although stretched, the system has reduced mobility constraints and increased independence for millions of women who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities; contributing to the city’s dynamism and growth. There are similarly inspiring examples from all countries in South Asia.

As we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate the progress made in improving women’s inclusion and empowerment, while seeking to better address continuing challenges, which are estimated to cost South Asian economies $888 billion, through devising and implementing solutions that will bridge remaining gaps.

Much to be proud of­a lot more remains to be done

South Asian countries have seen encouraging increases in greater access and gender parity in education. At the same time, the region has achieved substantial decreases in maternal and child mortality. Countries have made great strides in healthcare access through training more female healthcare workers while providing affordable care for mothers and children. The region also boasts many inspiring female leaders and role models, as well as the countless individuals positively contributing to their communities and societies against difficult odds. 

However, much more needs to be done in order to nurture all women and men to realize their potential. As South Asian countries become more prosperous, their growth trajectory will be less assured if hundreds of millions of women remain excluded from education and employment opportunities. South Asian countries will need to substantially expand their workforce in order to meet their economic growth goals and, at the same time, adequately support their increasingly large populations. Studies show that only around 1 out of 4 women in South Asia participate in the labor force, about half of what is typical in middle-income countries in other regions. Too many women face restrictions in decision-making, mobility, public safety; and far too many experience gender-based violence—the most egregious cases making headlines around the world. What can help bridge these gaps?

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