Dear fellow caregivers,
You are receiving a patient from Afghanistan.
Here is a list of useful information to know in the context of their medical care.

General Information

Distance Paris ✈ Kabul : 3472 miles
37.17 million inhabitants / Average salary: $48 per month
Literacy rate: 38% / Life expectancy: 60.7 years
Spoken languages: Patchou and Dari (Persian).

● Afghanistan is a country at war since 2001.
● Afghans represent the 2nd largest population of people who have fled their country (2.7 million) behind Syrians (5.5 million).
● In Afghanistan, homosexuality is punishable by death.
● The most common diseases are: tuberculosis, cholera, Covid-19, dengue, hepatitis A and B, rabies, malaria, Zika, typhoid and yellow fever.


Afghan man

● Some women may feel embarrassed to shake your hand. Instead, they may prefer to place their hand on their chest as a greeting.
● Among Afghan men, it is common to hug each other as a greeting.
● It is best not to make too much eye contact with an Afghan person. Afghans of the opposite sex do not usually look each other in the eyes.

Beliefs, Practices & Rituals

Flagellation during a religious ceremony in Kabul

● Afghanistan is a 99% Muslim country. Afghans therefore celebrate and follow Islamic rites and can perform up to 5 prayers a day.
● In some rural areas, people may believe that the disease is caused by the evil spirit, the “Jinn”.
● The “Jinn” is said to take over children’s bodies and be responsible for a disease that can be similar to tetanus. Thinking that they cannot heal, the parents could refuse medical examinations.
● During the month of Ramadan, fasting is de rigueur every day from sunrise to sunset.
● Ramadan is practiced by the majority of the population.
● During Ramadan, a small amount of blood may be taken and does not interrupt the fast.
● During this period, the suffering person is allowed to eat to regain strength if the doctor deems it necessary.
● During Ramadan, therapeutic massage is allowed and does not break the fast, unlike the comfort and well-being massage.”
● In Afghanistan, it is customary for a woman to be treated / massaged by a female caregiver, showing only the areas to be treated.

Dietary habits

Traditional Afghan meal

● The Muslim religion prohibits the consumption of pork and alcohol.
● During the month of Ramadan, fasting is de rigueur every day from sunrise to sunset.
● The best known dish in Afghanistan is kabuli pulao, made from chicken, rice and spices. Kebabs and nans are very popular dishes.
● The national drink is green tea without sugar.
Fruit juices such as banana juice or lemon juice are very popular with the population.

Pregnancy and maternity

A midwife in Afghanistan

Abortion is illegal in Afghanistan and is only performed when there is danger to the mother’s life.
● In Afghanistan, deaths in childbirth are the leading cause of death among women.
Male doctors in Afghanistan are not allowed to perform gynaecological consultations.
● During childbirth, one practice requires the cord to be sprinkled with sifted earth to make it dry faster. These practices can cause neonatal tetanus.
● The use of kohl eye make-up on babies’ eyes is a common practice that can cause neonatal conjunctivitis.
● Some “Dayas” (local birth attendants) may advise infertile women to carry a fruit in their vagina. This can lead to infections.
● For some women, stopping periods during menopause can be equated to the fact of carrying a dead foetus. They then beg to have it removed in order to regain their fertility.

End-of-life care

Elderly person sitting in Afghanistan

● For Muslims, the mortuary toilet represents a very important step in the passage to the afterlife. This operation follows a very precise codification and process. It should be carried out by Muslims, preferably family members or relatives, or an Imam.
● In Islam, life is said to be sacred and the body inviolable. However, organ donation is possible from the moment the transplant is performed in order to save a life.

Examples of cases encountered

This section allows us to share experiences. Feel free to share yours with the community.

This section allows us to share experiences. Feel free to share yours with the community.


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