Afghan Health System in Danger of Collapse, WHO Concerned About Female Patients and Health Workers
WHO’s recent mission to Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse and the country faces “an imminent humanitarian catastrophe,” the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday.

Only 17% of the facilities of the country’s largest health project, Sehetmandi, are still fully functional as they have run out of funds for supplies and salaries for health staff. 

“This breakdown in health services is having a rippling effect on the availability of basic and essential health care, as well as on emergency response, polio eradication, and COVID-19 vaccination efforts,” the WHO said.

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

It warned that 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country remain unused. 

“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.”

The WHO recently completed a high-level mission to Kabul in Afghanistan headed by Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus where it met with Taliban leaders, UN partners, health care workers and patients.

“WHO particularly emphasizes the need for women to maintain access to education, health care, and to the health workforce,” the global body stated.

“With fewer health facilities operational and fewer female health workers reporting to work, female patients are hesitant to seek care. We are committed to working with partners to invest in the health education of girls and women, as well as continue training female health workers.”

Polio is still endemic in Afghanistan, while measles is on the increase.



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