Afghanistan forges ahead to brighter future

By September 21, 2010

Afghanistan (MNN) — Nearly half of the eligible voters in Afghanistan
turned out for the Parliamentary elections over the weekend.

Although the threat of Taliban
violence hung over the polling stations, President Hamid Karzai's government urged
Afghans to use the elections to build a better country.

CURE
International
Executive Director in Afghanistan, Jackie Lammert, agrees. The team is cautiously optimistic. "We're
very, very hopeful that the corruption we saw in last year's presidential elections
will not hold true for the parliament elections that we just held this Saturday."

There were 2,514 candidates vying
for seats in the 249-member parliament. Preliminary
tallies may be released by the end of September, and final results are expected
in late October.  

Whenever there is a change in
leadership, there are always adjustments that need to be made, but Lammert says
they're taking a "wait and see" stance before making any changes. "Unfortunately,
in Afghanistan the environment is just very fluid. You're never really sure
what's going to be the final result until it actually reveals itself."

In the meantime, CURE
continues their work in Kabul. Given the
Taliban's stirring recently, we asked Lammert if security measures would
change, especially with the recent murders of 10 foreign aid workers so close
to the upheaval of the elections. Again, she says not much will change since "we have good security at the
hospital and the clinic and around our expatriate staff on a consistent basis."

Three decades of war and civil
unrest have left Afghanistan's health care infrastructure woefully inadequate
to care for the needs of its population.

There is a severe lack of trained
nurses and doctors, particularly female practitioners, to meet the overwhelming
medical needs. The health of women and children is among the worst in the
world.

In 2005, CURE International
entered Afghanistan and began laying the groundwork for generations to come. "We
have a Memorandum Of Understanding with the ministry of public health to work
in Afghanistan for 50 years. Our mission
statement says that we are there to create sustainability within the hospital
and the clinic, and to build capacity via training Afghan medical workers."

Programs include obstetrics and
gynecology, pathology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, and
general practice. 

While CURE is known in the region
as a Christian hospital, Lammert
explains that "part of the MOU [Memorandum Of Understanding] with the ministry of public health is that we
not proselytize while we're in Afghanistan. Since we are visitors there, it's really important to our long-term
mission and strategic plan that we adhere to that plan and agreement."

Within this framework, then, how does CURE open the door for the hope of Christ? They are careful to obey the guidelines as guests
in Afghanistan. Still, the Gospel is
simple. "Our expatriate staff really tries
to model Christian behavior by doing the walk and speaking to our colleagues
and our patients–just being the hands and feet of Jesus." When people ask questions, the CURE team is ready
with an answer that relates to the faith in Jesus that motivates their work.

Prayer is needed. Aside from expatriates who have concerned families,
Lammert says their team needs wisdom and discernment from God as they carry out
their calling.

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