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The challenge of addressing the health care needs of Afghan evacuees

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Over 130,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan as United States and allied troops left the country at the end of August , with more individuals and families expected to leave Afghanistan in the next few months. Many will eventually be settled in this country, though that will be a complex processing challenge and will require the coordination of multiple support programs.

A particularly pressing concern is that many of these arrivals have immediate or long-term physical and mental health conditions caused or exacerbated by their traumatic experiences. How can we best address these health needs?

Humanitarian aid groups across the country have been addressing the Afghan arrivals’ immediate needs. These groups have mobilized resources and volunteers to help ensure that individuals forced from their homes receive essential items upon arriving here—including shoes, culturally appropriate clothing, baby formula, diapers, and toiletries. Since the end of July, one such organization, Lutheran Social Services in Virginia, has reported having resettled over 665 people and expects to settle at least 10 more families each week. Meanwhile, as of October 6, more than 50,000 Afghan evacuees are at eight safe-haven military bases across the country.

Beyond immediate settlement needs, however, Afghan evacuees will require a long […]

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