In conflict-affected states, insufficient healthcare affects most vulnerable

Jean-Francois Trani

Brown School associate professor Jean-Francois Trani is  interested in the intersection of mental health, disability, vulnerability and poverty. He conducts field research that informs policy and service design in conflict-affected fragile states and low-income countries.

A new study co-authored by Trani finds that despite 15 years of investment in the Afghan healthcare sector by the international community, people in Afghanistan — especially those with disabilities — have insufficient access to quality health care. And the problem is growing.

To reverse this trend, a multilevel intervention is necessary, says Trani.

“First, we must promote a community-based healthcare and education system to promote hygiene and prevention of diseases, treat common childhood disorders, communicable diseases, such as malaria, and provide basic reproductive health advice, which will contribute to the prevention of many disabilities. We need to train community health workers to assess disabilities, address stigma associated with disability and increase referral and providing of free transportation and free access to hospitals,” said Trani.

“Yet, such a program will only be effective if a political solution to the ongoing conflict is successfully sought.”

Co-authors on the paper are Brown School graduate students Ellis Ballard and Praveen Kumar, and Tarani Chandola of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, UK.

The study was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.