Afghans between a collapse of the healthcare system and food insecurity

Children in a village in Afghanistan Children in a village in Afghanistan Photo by the Chuqur Studio on Unsplash

22 September 2021

The collapsing Afghani healthcare system poses a further threat to the population suffering from food insecurity.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that Afghanistan’s health-care system is at the brink of collapse. Following cuts in donor support after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the health facilities of the largest health project in the country, Sehetmandi, have been all but shut down. The halt of the funding since late August 2021 has put more than 2000 (90percent) of the health facilities operating under its umbrella at risk of being closed. Also, the remaining and still operational medical facilities are not able to purchase medical supplies and are thus only able to provide basic health care and emergency response. The breakdown of  health services also impacts the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 and the attempts  to eradicate polio from Afghanistan being one of the two remaining countries in which  the disease remains endemic.

In this light, the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calls for providing access to women to education, health care and health force. He also deplored that female patients often refrain from seeking medical care due to the lack of female health workers. At the same time, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warns about the current food crisis. The financial crisis resulting from the takeover has deteriorated the living conditions of the middle class, which is suffering from food insecurity similar to rural communities. A recent WFP survey observed that only 5 percent of households in Afghanistan have enough to eat.

In order to avoid the health-system crisis resulting  in a humanitarian catastrophe, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, announced the use of $45 million from an emergency fund to support Afghanistan’s health-care system.




Author: Pietro Mattioli

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