Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, met today in Kabul with Dr. Sima Samar, head of Afghanistan's new Ministry for Women's Affairs.
During the meeting, Dr. Samar called for the UN's continuing support of her Ministry's work and specifically for logistical help in setting up her office.
Earlier this week, a team from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) met with another woman who was recently appointed to a senior position in the interim government -- Dr. Sohila Sediq, Afghan Public Health Minister. Dr. Sediq expressed gratitude for the support WHO had provided to Afghanistan over many years and requested that the agency maintain a strong presence in the country to help strengthen national authorities.
Dr. Sediq also highlighted the urgent need to rehabilitate Afghanistan's health infrastructure, which has suffered from years of destruction and lack of maintenance, as well to ensure a regular supply of medicines and vaccines. In addition, she asked WHO, along with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), to help reactivate medical training for female health workers, whom she described as a "crucial asset" for Afghanistan's health system.