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Reaching the unreached; mobile health teams in conflict settings
  1. Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta1,2
  1. 1Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
  2. 2Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, The Aga Khan University, Karachi 74800, Pakistan; zulfiqar.bhutta{at}aku.edu

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Edmond et al present an analysis of the potential impact of mobile health team (MHT) on the coverage of maternal and child health interventions in rural Afghanistan.1 These MHTs have been part of the repertoire of services of the Afghan health services since 2003 focused on remote and difficult to reach rural villages and outposts. Each MHT consisted of an officially accredited midwife, vaccinator and nurse and mainly provide basic maternal and child health services including immunisations to pregnant and postpartum women, and children aged under 5 years of age. In comparison with districts that did not receive MHT services, Edmond et al found significant increases in available district-based health information for antenatal care, measles vaccination and receipt of at least one recommended IMCI service for diarrhoea and pneumonia management.

These are important findings given the context of populations and families affected by conflict and insecurity. There are limited data on the relative contribution of conflict and insecurity to maternal and child health and survival globally and what exists, strongly suggests that coverage of key interventions and survival are relatively poor in such settings.2 Afghanistan is a case in point with long-standing conflict and previous evaluations have shown major differences in coverage of interventions geographically and in relation to conflict intensity.3 These …

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