UN releases $45M to help prevent Afghan health system from collapse

KUNAR, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 07: Afghan Internally displaced families fled their homes in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province August 07, 2021. They’re living in dire condition at school buildings as their temporary shelters. ( Stringer - Anadolu Agency )

Medicines, medical supplies, fuel running out in Afghanistan, says official

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund on Wednesday released $45 million in life-saving support to help prevent Afghanistan’s health-care system from collapse.

The announcement was made by Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

In a statement, he warned that in Afghanistan medicines, medical supplies and fuel are running out, while cold chains are compromised and essential health-care workers are not being paid.

“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,” Griffiths said.

“The funding will go to WHO and UNICEF and – working through national and international NGOs – will keep health-care facilities, including hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, operating until the end of the year.”

It comes as WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus completed a high-level mission to Kabul, where he met senior leadership of the Taliban, who have taken power in the war-torn country.

In a statement, he said Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse. “Unless urgent action is taken, the country faces an imminent humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

“Our visit allowed us to witness the immediate needs of the Afghan people firsthand and meet with stakeholders to define ways to urgently scale up our health response.”

He said cuts in donor support to the country’s largest health project, Sehetmandi, has left thousands of health facilities without funding for medical supplies and salaries for health staff.

The readout also emphasized on the need for women to maintain access to education, health care, and to the health workforce, and reiterated “WHO’s long-term commitment to advancing the health of all Afghans.”

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