The Current State of Neurosurgery in Afghanistan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



World neurosurgery




INTRODUCTION: Afghanistan has suffered through conflicts that have detrimentally impacted its healthcare systems. The countries' neurosurgeons have worked through wars and political upheavals to build solid practices and handle large caseloads with minimal supplies and almost no modern tools. Understanding the current state of neurosurgery in Afghanistan and the challenges faced by Afghan physicians and patients is critical to improving the country's healthcare capacity. METHODS: To assess neurosurgery research in Afghanistan, searches were conducted in databases for articles originating from Afghanistan neurosurgeons and/or neurosurgery departments. We developed a 30-question English-language survey to assess the current state of neurosurgical capacity. Surveys were distributed to neurosurgeons throughout Afghanistan via email with the assistance of our English-speaking Afghan neurosurgical colleagues. RESULTS: The neurosurgical disease burden of Afghanistan is poorly understood due to the lack of centralized and accessible databases. There are an estimated 124 neurosurgeons in the country based on modeled data. Surveys showed that government hospitals are poorly equipped, with private and military hospitals having access to slightly more modernized equipment but less accessible to the general population. The country lacks neurosurgery research with only 15 papers discovered through database searches deemed relevant to neurosurgery with Afghan affiliations. CONCLUSION: Afghanistan is facing existential humanitarian threats. Developing the country's neurosurgical capacity and general healthcare capabilities is crucial. Emphasis on training physicians and establishing communication routes and aid deliverance with the country and its leaders is key to overcoming the many crises it faces.


Neurological Surgery