​The Children's House in Kabul      ​

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A recent report by a humanitarian organisation, Medicins Sans Frontiers, describes the horrors of war that patients seeking healthcare in Afghanistan face, as they attempt to reach the nearest hospital or medical facility.

Not only do patients have to travel 80 kilometers on foot or by primitive means of transport, they also encounter landmines, military roadblocks, security checkpoints and fighting along the way.

Says Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director: “One in every five of the patients we interviewed had a family member or close friend who had died within the last year due to a lack of access to medical care”.

The French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) in Kabul provides high quality surgical treatment to children from families without means. FMIC has resolved this problem of access and safety for its young patients by establishing a ‘house for children’ on its premises. The Afghan Children’s House was opened in March 2008. This structure welcomes, without charge, approximately 60 children from poor backgrounds each month. Sick or handicapped children can be accompanied by a member of their family during the pre and post surgical period. The house also provides accommodation to those who have come for consultation, control or a second intervention.

Vulnerable parents and patients from different parts of Afghanistan, including Kundunz, Jalalabad, Herat, Ghor  and ​Helmand provinces, gain a sense of hope and comfort in the safe, warm environment of Children’s House. Children who have faced displacement many times in their lives, find a ‘home’ with clean, bright, well-decorated rooms, playmates, care-givers - and safe play areas, where they can interact with people from other backgrounds. 

​Some children spend two or three days at Children’s House, others stay for months, whereas yet others have to make repeat visits to complete their treatment. The quality of care at Children’s House increases the chances of young patients and their families returning and completing the course of treatment.

In a country torn by ethnic divides, Children’s House has proved to be a source of tolerance and emotional bonding, as patients, their families, doctors and medical staff from around the world, work together to improve quality of life and living environment for the sick. 

​FMIC established in 2005, is a partnership between La Chaine de l’Espoir (CDE) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The AKDN manages the institute, whereas CDE provides their expertise in medical and paramedical training.​ The operation and management of medical and surgical care of children are financed by La Chaine de l’Espoir. The administration of the Afghan Children’s House of La Chaine de l’Espoir is separated from the FMIC administration.