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MSF reports basic medical needs of Afghans are not being met

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(Last Updated On: June 9, 2021)

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday said despite the international community having touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, strong evidence shows that the health system is unable to meet the basic medical needs of Afghans.

“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”

In a briefing paper published Tuesday MSF said Afghans today are struggling to access basic healthcare facilities as a result of violence and insecurity, poverty, and an under-funded and under-resourced health system.

“Every day, Afghans must undertake dangerous journeys across active frontlines and mined roads, through checkpoints and areas controlled by armed groups to seek medical care.

“They are often unable or too afraid to leave their homes, and, when medical emergencies happen, such delays can prove fatal.”

MSF also stated that healthcare facilities in Afghanistan are attacked more often than almost anywhere in the world, forcing their temporary or permanent closure and depriving millions of access to vital medical services.

“In addition to creating a climate of fear, such attacks severely limit access to vital medical services by forcing health providers to suspend or discontinue activities,” MSF reported.

Citing World Health Organization (WHO) findings, MSF stated that up to three million people were deprived of essential health services in Afghanistan in 2020 as a result of health facilities forced to close by parties to the conflict.

In addition, the organization said the humanitarian crisis, compounded by the health and socioeconomic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, is worsening throughout the country.

According to MSF, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial hardship for Afghans and that many have lost their livelihoods as a result of border closures, reduced commercial activity and job losses, and are receiving less in overseas remittances.

“Direct medical and non-medical costs put healthcare further out of reach for people living in poverty,” the report stated.

MSF stated that in recent years, “the international community has touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, despite strong evidence that the health system is unable to meet Afghans’ basic medical needs.”

“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”

Actors, such as MSF, have stepped in to fill important gaps in health service provision. “However, the situation is not sustainable, as humanitarian needs multiply and add further pressure on already overburdened medical facilities,” MSF reported.

The organization also warned that national and international stakeholders must recognise that basic services, such as healthcare, are insufficient and incapable of addressing Afghans’ immediate needs, and that now is not the time to reduce humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

“Access to quality and affordable medical care for all must be made an urgent priority,” MSF said.

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Herat residents welcome much needed food parcels from Bayat Foundation

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

Following the donation of food supplies in southern Kandahar province last week, the Bayat Foundation, an Afghan Charity Organization, has also stepped in to help desperate families in western Herat Province.

The foundation distributed food packages, which included cooking oil, flour, and rice, to dozens of vulnerable families this week.

Haji Mohammad Ismail, Deputy Chairman of the Bayat Foundation, said: “The Bayat Foundation has distributed aid in provinces. We already distributed to vulnerable people in Kandahar. Fortunately, we came here to Herat to distribute aid including flour, cooking oil, and rice to the most vulnerable and displaced people.”

“Inshallah, additional aid from us will be distributed to other zones and provinces as well,” he added.

Zarin Sultani, Head of Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) in Herat, which is working in coordination with the Bayat Foundation, stated: “A list (of other vulnerable families) will be prepared and will be handed over to a committee for assessment.”

“This list will be finalized and then the list will be shared with elders such as Haji Sahib Bayat and Haji Sahib Ismail; thereafter, aid will be provided to them (the families),” he said.

The recipients of the latest delivery expressed their gratitude for the food supplies and thanked the foundation.

Again, recipients appealed to other organizations to step forward with urgent humanitarian aid.

One Herat recipient said she was “very happy” to receive the food parcel as she was a widow with children.

“I am very happy for this aid. I have children and am widowed and there is no place to work,” she said.

Gul Ahmad, a recipient of Bayat Foundation’s aid was another grateful recipient. “We had nothing to cook for four or five days. I am going out [of the house for work] but cannot find any [job]. Now, I am very happy…for this aid that I received.”

The Bayat Foundation started helping needy families months ago and the organization plans to distribute aid to as many vulnerable people in other provinces as it can.

This comes amid a crushing economy that has put millions of Afghans at risk of starvation.

As winter looms, international organizations including the UN have warned of dire consequences unless Afghans get immediate help.

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Pentagon offers payment to families of victims of botched drone strike

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

The Pentagon has offered unspecified condolence payments to the family of 10 civilians who were killed in a botched U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan in August in the final days before American troops withdrew from the country.

The U.S. Defense Department said it made a commitment that included offering ex-gratia condolence payments, in addition to working with the U.S. State Department in support of the family members who were interested in relocation to the United States.

The Pentagon had said the strike targeted an Islamic State (Daesh) suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to U.S.-led troops as they completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The intelligence failure raised hard questions about future risks, particularly whether the United States can keep track of threats from Afghanistan without a presence in the country.

The confirmation of civilian deaths provided further fuel to critics of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal, which generated the biggest foreign policy crisis yet for President Joe Biden’s administration.

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NASA probe will study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)
NASA launched a first-of-its kind mission on Saturday to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system’s outer planets. Matthew Larotonda reports.
 
NASA launched a new space probe on Saturday (October 16) morning in a special 12-year mission designed to visit more asteroids than ever before.

It focuses on the Trojan asteroids, which are two large clumps of space rocks orbiting the sun. One floats ahead of Jupiter and the other behind it.

Scientists believe the rocks are leftovers from the formation of our solar system.

The probe is called “Lucy” and NASA hopes it will help us learn more about our solar system’s history.

The asteroids are also rich in carbon compounds, and may provide insights into organic materials and life on Earth.

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