Afghanistan (MNN) — The anti-American unrest over the
burning of Qurans, along the recent massacre of 16 villagers, has Afghanistan in
The unrest came at a time when the Afghan government hoped
to implement a plan to abolish private security companies by today.
That, in turn, has left the private groups doing Western development
work exposed as they try to replace the guards that protected aid workers.
CURE International has a hospital in Kabul. Are the teams there "sitting ducks" for militant
attacks? CURE International's Joel Worrall says they're not in the same boat as
the other aid groups that will be affected by the change. He explains, "There is some sense in which we're bringing a level of outside Western
influence into what the medical practices, surgical practices, mean in that
country. But I think that we're also very much seen as sort of a part of the
community that we're serving."
Worrall goes on to say that being part of the community means
that "the vast majority of the people that we employ in our hospital,
including much of our security staff, are Afghan nationals." That's not to say they don't take security
of the patients and staff seriously. "We
need a context of security to be able to operate and to be able to serve these
vulnerable people, but at this point, we're not concerned about what that
change is going to mean for CURE."
CURE hospitals bring in skilled and experienced western
ex-pats to work alongside of national professionals, bolstering the skills,
training, and standards of the hospital. They're doing development work that holds a high value. "We hold a
reputation with those people that is regarded not just in Afghanistan, but in
Iran, in Kazakhstan, and in all of the other countries around there. You
understand that if you really want to strive for excellence as a medical
practitioner, you go train at the CURE facility."
Worrall says the CURE hospital in Kabul wears an Afghan
face. The health of women and children
is among the worst in the world, and the recent violence has made people afraid
to travel. Oddly, that is exactly what
stands their team apart from other hospitals. "For mothers who have been dealing with horrendous fistula issues,
for premature babies that are born there, for the kids that we're treating that
have reconstructive surgery need: when they get to the hospital, it is a little
bit like entering into an oasis."
CURE International accepted an invitation from the Afghan
Ministry of Public Health to assume control of both a partially-restored
hospital and a nearby outpatient clinic in Kabul in January 2005. Since the fall of 2006, in collaboration with
Smile Train, CURE has developed cleft lip and cleft palate surgical training
programs in most of CURE's hospitals worldwide.
All of this has been done because of CURE's commitment to
serve the people of Afghanistan in a way that glorifies God. Worrall explains, "We're committed to abiding by the laws
of the land, but people know that we're there as Christians on behalf of Jesus
Christ, and that we're unashamed to talk about our faith and why we're there,
but we're not proselytizing."