ICRC Calls For Nutshell Support To Prevent Healthcare Collapse in Afghanistan

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday expressed its extreme concern as many Afghans have no access to healthcare across Afghanistan because thousands of health facilities have closed or are not functioning anymore.

Most Afghan patients can’t afford treatment in private clinics anymore nor travel to neighboring countries, the ICRC said in a statement. “Families of the patients can’t always afford the accommodation nor medicine that isn’t provided for free by the hospitals. They sleep in waiting areas and patients are sometimes discharged without treatment,” it lamented.

Besides lack of healthcare access, the ICRC said Afghanistan is also scrambling with shortages of COVID-19 vaccine, where according to WHO only about 10% of the country is fully vaccinated.

“The effect of the banking and liquidity crisis is rippling across the country and huge consequences on the health system are being felt as multiple facilities are not able to pay salaries, or for fuel to run their generators,” the statement added.

It furthered that “ambulances can’t operate, food supplies are running short for the patients, and they lack adequate medicine.”

However, the ICRC said they have taken concrete steps to save lives and stop the inhibition of healthcare services in Afghanistan through the Hospital Resilience Project (HRP). “Through HRP, We are supporting 28 regional, provincial, and teaching hospitals all of which have the capacity to hold 5,725 beds,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the support includes the payment of the salaries of around 10,000 health workers, as well as running costs, which will enable hospitals to buy fuel to run their ambulances, ensure power continuity, provide food for their patients, undergo necessary maintenance and more.

“Supporting nursing schools and teaching hospitals is essential to secure the futures of thousands of female health workers and the future of the health system for the people of Afghanistan,” the statement added.

After the collapse of western-backed government in Afghanistan in August, Afghans are facing huge difficulties and the de-facto Taliban regime, whose government is yet to be recognized by the international community, is not able to provide basis services including healthcare facilities.

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