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WHO calls for $378 million to prevent collapse of health centers

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

World Health Organization (WHO) officials on Tuesday said they have requested $378 million in aid in order to prevent Afghanistan’s health services from collapsing.

Dr Jamshed Tanoli, WHO’s health sector coordinater, said during a visit to Kandahar province on Monday, along with UN officials, that efforts are underway to keep 2,331 health centers open in Afghanistan.

“We are advocating to convince World Bank, USAID, and the European Union to sustain the funding to ensure that after June 22 we should have a medium to long term strategy to ensure the continuity of health services… also to focus on the COVID-19 as a whole you know the surveillance and laboratories expansion including the treatment centers,,” said Tanoli.

This comes after WHO warned earlier that Afghanistan’s health system is close to collapsing.
“We came here to let you know that we are here to serve the people of Afghanistan,” he said adding that the head of the cluster has requested almost 378 million (dollars).

“So that we are advocating Inshallah to get those funds to ensure the continuity of the services through the NGOs and of course through UN agencies and through all the partners,” said Tanoli.

United Nations Development Program in Afghanistan (UNDP) meanwhile said that the UN will play a greater role in the development of Afghanistan.

“So we are not here to provide the people a package of food, there are other agencies that do that. We are here to see how the people can have enough income to buy their own food,” said Abdullah Al Dardari, head of UNDP in Afghanistan.

The Kandahar governor, on the other hand, said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is taking serious measures to provide security for international aid organizations.

“Necessary aid should be delivered for Afghan people. People face a lot of problems. Most people in Dand, Arghistan, Arghandab, Panjwayi and Zhari have been displaced. They lost their houses during US bombardments, now they don’t have any shelter,” said Haji Mohammad Yousuf Wafa, Kandahar’s governor.

This comes as many UN aid agencies warn of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Health

Afghanistan’s health system is on brink of collapse: urgent action needed

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2022)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has once again appealed to the international community to find a funding mechanism to help prevent Afghanistan’s primary health care initiative from collapsing.

The WHO stated this week international donors need to find a funding mechanism for the Sehatmandi program, which is Afghanistan’s crucial primary health care initiative.

The Sehatmandi program is the backbone of Afghanistan’s health system, providing care for millions of people through 2,331 health facilities across the country.

However, since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) took control, major funding for the program has been withdrawn.

Previously funded by the World Bank, the European Commission, and USAID, there are now serious challenges to continuing these vital primary health care services.

Over the last two decades, life expectancy has risen, and maternal, newborn and child deaths in Afghanistan have dramatically decreased, largely due to the success of the Sehatmandi program.

Today, the population’s health is seriously under threat and all the progress in health outcomes may be lost, the organization warned.

“The recent funding pause by key donors to the country’s biggest health programme (Sehatmandi) will cause the majority of the public health facilities to close. As a result, more mothers, infants and children will die of reduced access to essential health care.

“WHO is determined to work with partners in identifying a sustainable solution with the support of donors to maintain and scale up the lifesaving interventions when needed in the country,” said Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Representative in Afghanistan this week.

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Health

WHO launches first polio vaccination campaign for 2022

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

The first national polio immunization campaign for 2022 is set to start this week and will target 9.9 million children aged 0–59 months across the country.

According to Relief Web, this month’s campaign will reach more children than the November 2021 program that delivered polio vaccinations to 8.5 million children under the age of five.

The December campaign in turn vaccinated more than 8 million children.

Last year was the year with the lowest ever polio transmission in Afghanistan, providing an unprecedented opportunity to interrupt transmission of wild poliovirus and achieve eradication. Four cases of wild poliovirus type 1 were reported: the first, in Ghazni province in January, and three in Kunduz province in October and November.

In response to the detection of three cases of WPV1 in Kunduz earlier this month, the polio program also conducted a third case response campaign in seven provinces in order to stop the outbreak and protect children from the crippling but preventable disease.

“As we begin 2022, we have our best opportunity yet to end polio in Afghanistan,” said Dr Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan. “To reach that goal, we have five more campaigns planned for 2022 and it’s critical that we maintain this momentum to reach our final goal of zero cases.”

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COVID-19

Afghanistan unable to detect omicron variant: health ministry

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

Public Health Ministry officials said Monday that Afghanistan’s health sector does not have the medical equipment needed to detect the newly mutated version of the coronavirus and as such, they have no idea how many people are infected with the omicron variant.

While the case number in Afghanistan is lower compared to neighboring countries, the ministry of health says the latest data put the number of cases at 40. However, it’s not known how many have the omicron variant.

“We have problems to identify the new variant of COVID-19. We call on the international community to help us. They vowed that they will continues their help,” said Javid Hazher, spokesman for the ministry of public health.

Meanwhile, staff at the Afghan-Japan Hospital, the main COVID-19 treatment center in Kabul, said that between 15 and 20 patients seek treatment at the hospital daily, however they are not able to detect the variant.

“So far, the mutated type of COVID-19 has not been identified because we have not received the diagnostic device and we have asked the Ministry of Health to make the device available as soon as possible,” said Mohammad Anil, HR director of the hospital.

Members of the public meanwhile have called on the ministry to take special measures to help curb the spread of the virus – which is currently in its 4th wave in the country.

“It has been 15 days that my mother is sick and we are satisfied with the hospital but we ask people to not go outside without wearing masks and washing their hands,” said Mohammad Juma, one Kabul resident.

“People should wear masks, and this is Islamic law, when we pray and wash our hands, we do not get sick,” said Mohammad Arif, another resident.

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