The Afghanistan National Public Health Association convened its second congress on Saturday, 31st March 2012 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Kabul Star Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Congress had three main expected outcomes, which were:

The intr oduction of the ANPHA new elected executive team i
The launch of the first edition of the Afghanistan Public Health Journal i
The Introduction of the ANPHA annual work plan

The congress was opened with recitation of few verses from the holy Quran.

Dr. Ahmad Shah Salehi, ex-president of the ANPHA presented the major achievements of ANPHA since its establishment. He stated that in the last two years, ANPHA managed to develop its strategic plan, conducted ten public health lecture series on various public health issues of Afghanistan and the region in coordination with The John Hopkins University and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines. In addition, the presentation of a conference on the quality of health care in hospitals was considered another important success of ANPHA in 2010 and 2011. years. Dr. Salehi also stated that ANPHA could get membership World Public Health Federation. Dr. Salehi stressed the role of ANPHA as a civil society organization with responsibility for participating in the shaping of health policies and strategies for Afghanistan.

HE Dr. Suraya Dalil the Minister of Public Health was the honoraryguest of the congress. Dr. Dalil acknowledged the great work of ANPHA and expressed the support of MoPH .. She also said that she considered ANPHA as a leading professional association and congratulated its founders and members for the achievements to date. During her speech, HE Dr. Dalil asked ANPHA to provide technical support to MoPH in the following areas:

Improving the quality of tertiary care in the hospitals
Providing support to School of Public Health of Kabul Medical University
Providing technical support in the eradication of polio in Afghanistan; and:
Providing support and recommendations for improving the quality of pharmaceuticals in Afghanistan.

At the conclusionof her speech, HE Dr. Dalil congratulated the organization on the launch of the first issue of the Afghanistan Journal of Public Health which is the official journal of Afghanistan National Public Health Association. She considered it a major achievement of the Assocation..

Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed, representative of World Health Organization, Afghanistan Delegation,delivered the next speech. He also acknowledged the work of ANPHA as a professional civil society organization which can and will provide technical support to the health sector of Afghanistan.

The next agenda item was the introduction of the newly elected leadership and executive board of the ANPHA. Dr. Alim Atarud was introduced as the new elected president of ANPHA and Dr. Dawran Faizan and Dr. Mirwais Rahimzai were introduced as the first and second vice presidents respectively.

Dr. Atarud, President of ANPHA explained that from its inception, ANPHA has considered important health issues in its working agenda and has provided professional recommendations to health policy makers in Afghanistan. Dr. Atarud stated that ANPHA as civil society organization with many dedicated and highly educated members can play an important role in strengthening the health sector of Afghanistan. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) for its work in expanding access for services to hard to reach areas of Afghanistan which has led to reduced mortality and morbidity in the country. He emphasized that despite many improvements, there is a long and challenging way ahead of for the professional public health workforce.. Dr. Atarud also expressed his concern for the quality of the environment, food and drugs in the country which directly impact the health of population.

In continuation of his speech Dr. Atarud mentioned the following challenges:

Besides other concerns and challenges, Afghanistan is now suffering from both communicable and non-communicable diseases which are preventable. Increase in cancer cases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, is a big concern which has to be addressed thorough collective efforts.

During the congress, Dr. Atarud renewed ANPHA’s commitment to provide technical support to the Ministry of Public Health to ensure a health for all Afghans in the country.

Dr. Atarud as the new president thanked the members for the votes and expressed his commitment to work actively with the new team to improve the public health situation in Afghanistan.