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After more than 20 years of war, it was a really great pleasure for participants of the 2nd international conference on local and regional health programmes, held in Quebec (Canada) in October 2004, to listen to a paper presented by an Afghan health professional (Shakir Sahibullah, MD from Aide Médicale Internationale).1 Firstly, it was an opportunity to share our collaborative experiences on health financing studies with colleagues from everywhere, as I have been working in Afghanistan since 1996 and in collaboration with the speaker since 2001.2 Lastly, but not least, as more than 40 countries were present it was an important occasion, even if aid donors are still miserly,3 to show that Afghanistan is back in the international public health scientific community.
Funding: thanks to the conference sponsors for the bursary to Dr Sahibullah Shakir.