President of Russian Medical Associaton Prof. Sarkisian suggests an International Physicians Strategy

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Improving Public Health, Restoring health care system in Afghanistan

President of Russian Medical Associaton
Prof. Sarkisian suggests an International
Physicians Strategy

It is our professional duty and the need to
protect human life and health

Government and people of Afghanistan will welcome it and it may
become
effective, useful alternative to military actions
in this restless region

MOSCOW: The national health care system in Afghanistan has been destroyed, and in the nearest future Afghanistan may become not only the source of fierce international conflicts but also the area of dissemination of highly hazardous infections brought by uncontrollable refugee flows and growing social tension. The current situation in Afghanistan makes me think that to develop common physicians’ strategy to fight the global drug threat, to assist Afghani physicians in improving public health, and to discuss how to restore the health care system in the country, we all need to cooperate internationally. If we don’t find ways to solve these problems in the nearest future, the entire world will face global humanitarian disaster. This has been stated by A.G. Sarkisian, M.D. Professor of Medicine, who is also President of Russian Medical Association in a communication issued here last week which has been sent to various institutions and organizations.

The communication further states that the people and government of Afghanistan would welcome joint activity of physicians from different countries. In view of traditionally respectful attitude to physicians in Afghanistan, this initiative may become a sound public alternative to military actions and affect considerably the situation in Afghanistan and in this restless region, generally.

Supported by the Afghani community and government, physicians may unite efforts to act as friends and guarantors of independent and harmonious development of Afghanistan, and contribute to safe and sustainable development of the world. Making Afghanistan a stable and peaceful nation, free of threats to anyone, must become a strategic priority for the entire international community. Afghanistan is unable to handle all its problems on its own.

Timely detection of health and life risks and communicating them to governments and the public is among the most important professional obligations of physicians. On November 14-15, 2014, Moscow will host the Eurasian Medical Forum «World Without Narcotics: Physicians’ Prescription», which may provide a powerful impetus for the unification of physicians, households, public and governmental organizations from different countries in fighting the narcotic threat and rendering medical and social assistance to Afghanistan.

He has requested the healthcare professionals to support this initiative and participate in this Forum. As a professional community, physicians are beyond politics and act on the basis of our professional duty and the need to protect human life and health. The united voice of physicians will definitely be heard since there is a widely spread trust in physicians, and our influence on people is considerable. Our joint effort may soothe suffering and lead to saving a lot of human lives.

Prof. Sarkisian believes that the greatest and the most complex challenge for the civilization in the 21st century is the narcotic epidemic that has spread worldwide and runs up to the level of uncontrollability threatening the entire humanity. Legislative and legal control of drug manufacturers and distributors, law enforcement, restrictive and retaliatory measures are not effective enough, existing antidrug propaganda efforts and methods are not well coordinated and do not represent political, institutional, educational, and medical priorities. Medical profession and special knowledge make it possible to predict further global advance of the narcotic epidemic. Any delay in taking effective measures will lead to higher mortality, particularly among children, as well as rising social and economic losses.
President of Russian Medical Associaton recalled that early in 1980s, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War issued a well-founded statement to warn people throughout the World that any use of nuclear weapons would threaten life of the humanity itself. Physicians were understood and heard by international organizations, politicians, statesmen, military men from all nuclear-weapon states, and nuclear disarmament started. Today, the narcotic epidemic that has spread all over the world threatens the entire humanity, every country, every community, every family, and every person on the Earth to the extent not less than nuclear weapons.

In this situation, aware of our responsibility and realizing that any delay in urgent measures may be critical, physicians, just as three decades ago, must address people to warn them of the coming global threat and use all their efforts to form public antagonism against narcotics, to make all people on the Earth rise against drugs since nobody in this world can be safe from narcotics coming to his family, his children or grandchildren, regardless of social status, financial position or well-being.

Effective drug control is impossible without understanding and eliminating the very reasons for drug expansion. Obviously, the narcotics problem cannot be solved in isolation from Afghanistan, which the drug industry has turned into the main source of this evil despite the will of its people.

The situation in Afghanistan which has become an “area of chaos” is the greatest threat for international peace and safety. The antiterrorism coalition failed to achieve its strategic aims. Most Afghani people are skeptic about any prospects to stop war and restore peace. The country is torn aside by interethnic and clannish controversies. Afghanistan is as far from peace and stability as the international coalition is from its achieving its goals.

Evaluating the latest 25-year history of Afghanistan, as a direct participant in creating the public health care system in that country (my professional experience as a surgeon has been closely connected with Afghanistan since 1980s), I am convinced that the time has come for the international community to take a closer look at the coming humanitarian disaster, with a greater focus on the internal situation, and particularly on health care problems, in Afghanistan, the communication concludes.

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