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ICRC Orthopaedic Services in Afghanistan


 General situation  

During a conflict in areas where no adequate health facilities are available or when the local hospitals cease to function, the ICRC may set up or assist maintaining operational surgical facilities to ensure emergency treatment for the war-wounded. Similarly ICRC may provide orthopaedic facilities for those who have fallen victim to the conflict and/or by land-mines or unexploded ordinance (UXO).

The ICRC Orthopaedic Project in Afghanistan was established in Kabul during 1988. Based on the expressed needs of the war-victims it was decided to extend its service countrywide. In 1991 an orthopaedic branch was opened in Mazar-i-Sharif, in 1993 in Herat and in 1995 in Jalalabad. Due to movement of front-lines many amputees awaiting treatment were not able to reach the existing facilities, therefore another orthopaedic project was inaugurated in Gulbahar in November 1999. According to the need and remoteness of the area another orthopaedic center is under construction in Faizabad.

Presently five Ortho centres remain operational to attend the needs of several thousand patients each year.

Since 1995, due to the big demand and the almost complete absence of other structures, facilities were extended to non-amputees and non war-wounded patients. The main pathologies are poliomyelitis, spine injuries, cerebral palsy, congenital and acquired deformities.



 Aims and acitivities  


The ICRC Ortho Centre Programmes in Afghanistan comprises a major component of its operational activities, which aim to address the direct and lasting consequences of the conflict, by compensating for weaknesses in the social security and reinforcing local community structures.

In order to integrate disabled in the society, the ICRC orthopaedic center has launched a " Social Economical Rehabilitation of Disabled " (SERD) project where different categories of disabled receive supports from this center. This support includes following:

  • providing micro loans for disabled to run small commercial activities, such as, tailoring, repairing of shoes, watches, bicycles, chosen by them and approved by the ICRC. In the first 3 months of 2001, 107 disabled have received loans.

  • provides opportunity for school aged disabled to go either to schools or continue their lessons (only for severe disabled) in home classes. SERD provides stationary, fee for private courses and transportation to the schools and return. Presently 339 students are benefiting from this program, 39 out of them are going to home classes.

  • provides vocational training programs for disabled aged 17-30 . They receive training in tailoring, repairing and other professions. Now, 50 disabled are admitted to these training courses.

  • Last but not least the orthopaedic center finds job opportunities through its job center for disabled. Through this program di sabled are registered in this center and according to their capacities jobs are found in various NGOs. So far 200 persons (out of them 60 from the beginning of 2001) have been introduced to NGOs in Kabul.

In addition to that, the ICRC under its Home-care Programme in Kabul is helping paralyzed persons to find ways to have as normal life as possible within their communities. The programme is currently assisting 403 individuals in Kabul city. The home-care team visits him/her once a week, or once or twice a month, provides the victim's family with food rations for three months at a time and gives the patients the opportunity to take out small loans aimed at enabling him/her to start some type of small business.

 Briefing Note, April 2001  

 ICRC Orthopaedic Activities from the beginning up to date  









 (Pairs) made  

 Wheelchairs made  



 Other disabled  


 Total disabled  











































































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