The Afghan Ministry of Public Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with blockchain firm FantomOperations to integrate blockchain technology into the country’s healthcare sector.

As Afghan Voice Agency reported on Nov. 27, the terms of the MoU would apply blockchain to identify counterfeit medicines, create medical registries in hospitals and digitize patients’ files. Commenting on the initiative, Afghan Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said:

"The Ministry of Public Health is committed for the institutionalization of electronic government in the health sector and the blockchain technology would help the ministry bring transparency, acceleration and effectiveness in the related affairs."

Both the government and the public have expressed concerns about the volume of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in the country, with many citizens using traditional medicine for health problems due to their inexpensiveness and accessibility, according to an April report from the European Asylum Support Office.

“The Medicine Importers Union stated that at least 40% of medicine and medical equipment enter the Afghan market illegally and many of the pharmaceutical products are low quality,” the report read.

Afghanistan-oriented blockchain initiatives

This summer, the United Nations revealed that it began working on blockchain solutions for sustainable urban development in Afghanistan. The organization is developing blockchain solutions for land records and services transparency as part of the UN’s “City for All” initiative.

The UN initiative anticipates Afghanistan’s population becoming mostly urban within the next 15 years. Its three stated priorities are effective land management, strategic urban planning, and improved municipal finance.

In April, Afghanistan’s central bank governor Khalil Sediq said that the institution was considering issuing a sovereign crypto bond to raise $5.8 billion. Alongside Bitcoin (BTC), Sediq reportedly mentioned metal futures and pointed out that the country’s mineral reserves are estimated to be worth over $3 trillion.