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French FM vows to upgrade FMIC.

KABUL (PAN): French minister for foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner on Thursday visited the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) in Kabul and vowed to convert the hospital into a full-service maternal and child hospital.

Kouchner toured the facilities to discuss plans of converting the hospital - currently a paediatric facility primarily for treating children - into a full-service maternal and child hospital, the FMIC said in a statement on Thursday. Under the plans, the statement said, the hospital will nearly double in capacity from its current 85-beds to a total of 150-beds.

Additional medical services will also be provided for mothers and women who are expecting to give birth. Afghanistan has some of the worst maternal and child health statistics in the world with a maternal mortality rate of 1600 per 100,000 births, 50 women in Afghanistan die each day of pregnancy-related complications,it added.

Among women of child-bearing age,almost half (48 percent) will die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth; 87 percent of these are preventable. At the same time, no healthcare facility currently exists in Afghanistan to care for newborns with critical conditions.

Under the planned conversion to a maternal and child hospital, quality obstetric and gynaecological services will be added and specialist healthcare professionals will be trained.

Eventually, a further expansion is planned on additional land committed by the Afghan government to develop the hospital as a centre of excellence for tertiary health and academic health sciences.

The FMIC is an innovative four-way public-private partnership of the French Government, the Government of Afghanistan, the French NGO La Chane de lEspoir and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

In operation since April 2006, the FMIC is built on land donated by the Government of Afghanistan and is managed by the Aga Khan University.

The University develops healthcare professionals through on and off-site training as well as providing telemedicine services.

Operating under a cross-subsidisation model, the hospital charges fees for patients who can afford to pay,while subsidising the fees of those too poor to pay.

Each partner contributes to this model,which ensures the highest quality care for the hospitals patients, who come from across Afghanistans 32 provinces.

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 17, 2009
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