National health policy 2015-2020

I am very pleased to introduce this new National Health Policy 2015-2020 of the
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It reflects both the new political context in the
country, the Unity Government, and the new context in the Ministry of Public Health
following my appointment as Minister earlier this year. The ever changing context is
complex. But I intend to demonstrate sustained political commitment and strong
leadership throughout my tenure as minister.
Unlike many other countries we have a challenging, fragile context of a mix of
ongoing conflict and development. But this should not, and will not, stop us from
moving forward. Since my appointment I have been consistent in my messages
about a few new priorities, implementation of which has already started. While
concurrently with my staff I am in the process of reforming the ministry in its
functioning as a state institution.
The reform is with the intention of ensuring that the ministry better uses its’ power,
authority and influence to benefit the health of citizens. There are also some other
changes underway and planned both in ‘how’ the Ministry is working and in ‘what’ the
ministry is doing. The policy statements reflect these changes and are based on our
values, on common sense and for some on local and/or international evidence. For
effective implementation we will need to be flexible, maintain a holistic and systemic
approach, and learn about other people’s perspectives.
The main policy initiative is one that aims to ensure that there is a balance between
downstream health care and upstream ‘health’. Quality health care is vital to all of us
at some time in our life. To be healthy is vital to all of us all the time. The word
balance is key. We still need for example, to pay great attention to the prevention
and control of communicable diseases. But we need to better balance that with the
prevention of chronic diseases.
To effectively manage the changing context is challenging. So two of the policy
initiatives are to give greater attention to the ministry as an institution and also to the
health work force. This is with the aim of ensuring both are ‘fit for purpose’; that both
are capable of getting things done; that they can do the right thing in the right way to
bring about real and sustained change to benefit the health of our people.

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