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BusinessAfghanistan's health care system is 'on the brink of collapse': WHO

Afghanistan’s health care system is ‘on the brink of collapse’: WHO

In this photograph taken on March 20, 2019, an Afghan health employee administers a polio vaccine to a toddler in the Kandahar province.

Javed Tanveer | AFP | Getty Images

Afghanistan’s health-care system is “on the brink of collapse” as a scarcity of funding left 1000’s of health services struggling to purchase medical provides and pay their workers, the World Health Organization mentioned Wednesday.

“Unless urgent action is taken, the country faces an imminent humanitarian catastrophe,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed Al-Mandhari mentioned in a statement following a go to to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital metropolis.

The Taliban, an ultraconservative militant group, seized energy in Afghanistan final month as the U.S. withdrew its navy presence in the nation. Afghanistan is closely depending on worldwide funding, however many donors have suspended support to the nation whereas the U.S. froze its Afghan monetary belongings.

WHO mentioned decreased donations to Afghanistan’s largest health mission, Sehatmandi, left health services with out medicines, medical provides, gas, and salaries for medical staff.

Sehatmandi is the main source of health care in the nation — it operates 2,309 medical services throughout Afghanistan that benefitted over 30 million folks in 2020.

“Many of these facilities have now reduced operations or shut down, forcing health providers to make hard decisions on who to save and who to let die,” the assertion mentioned, noting that solely 17% of the services have been absolutely practical.

Covid-19 response

Problems in Afghanistan’s health-care system have affected the nation’s response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nine of 37 COVID-19 hospitals have already closed, and all aspects of the COVID-19 response have dropped, including surveillance, testing, and vaccination,” WHO mentioned.

Covid vaccination charges have “decreased rapidly” in current weeks, whereas 1.8 million vaccine doses remained unused, in accordance with the assertion.

United Nations Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF) members label the cargo containing Astrazeneca Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines donated by the French authorities after it arrived at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 8, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Images

“Swift action is needed to use these doses in the coming weeks and work towards reaching the goal of vaccinating at least 20% of the population by the end of the year based on national targets,” mentioned WHO.

Only round 1.1% of the Afghan inhabitants has been absolutely vaccinated, in accordance with newest knowledge compiled by on-line repository Our World in Data.

Other emergencies

In addition to Covid, Afghanistan faces different health emergencies, mentioned WHO.

The nation is one of solely two in the world the place polio is nonetheless prevalent, mentioned the company. Cases of wild poliovirus instances have fallen to only one this 12 months from 56 in 2020, however efforts to eradicate the illness will endure resulting from issues going through the Afghan health system, defined WHO.

Meanwhile, measles outbreaks are spreading in Afghanistan, the company added.

The United Nations mentioned Wednesday it’s releasing $45 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to “help prevent Afghanistan’s health-care system from collapse.”

“Allowing Afghanistan’s health-care delivery system to fall apart would be disastrous. People across the country would be denied access to primary health care such as emergency caesarian sections and trauma care,” mentioned Martin Griffiths, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency reduction coordinator.

Impact on girls

Problems in Afghanistan’s health-care system pose a selected danger to girls in the nation.

With fewer health-care services working and fewer feminine medical staff reporting to work, feminine sufferers are hesitant to hunt medical consideration, mentioned WHO.

While girls in the public health sector have been requested to return to their jobs, many are understandably scared of coping with Taliban militants, particularly now that that there is no governing system in place to supply them any safety.

Samira Hamidi

Humanitarian Campaigner, Amnesty International

Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner, mentioned that ladies in the nation really feel insecure as they do not belief the Taliban.

“While women in the public health sector have been asked to return to their jobs, many are understandably scared of dealing with Taliban militants, especially now that that there is no governing system in place to offer them any protection,” she instructed CNBC.

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