After decades of instability, exacerbated by severe drought and natural disasters, Afghanistan is currently facing a prolonged humanitarian crisis. As a result, millions are living with poor or no access to healthcare and food, putting them at severe risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks.
The revised Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 reveals an alarming increase in the number of people in urgent need of humanitarian aid. As per the plan, 28.8 million people in Afghanistan require immediate assistance, up from 18.4 million prior to August 2021.
The UN and partners report an alarming increase in the number of Afghans in urgent need of humanitarian aid this year. Nearly 29 million require immediate assistance – up from 18.4 million prior to August 2021, when the Taliban returned to power.
To address the health emergency, 14 million people, including 7.5 million children and 3.1 million women, are currently targeted for health assistance, out of which 8.4 million have already been reached in the first six months of 2023. The healthcare response has been commendable, with a total of 25.7 million healthcare services provided between 2022 and 2023.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday appealed for donors to ramp up funding to provide healthcare to some 14 million people in Afghanistan, particularly in underserved areas where infrastructure is severely lacking.
However, despite these efforts and without sufficient funding, 8 million people in Afghanistan will lose access to essential and potentially lifesaving health assistance, and 450,000 patients will have little to no access to life-saving trauma care services, including blood transfusions and referrals.
In addition, an estimated 1.6 million people with mental health conditions will have little to no access to mental health consultation and psychosocial support.
The WHO Alert highlights the dire consequences that will result if underfunding continues in Afghanistan’s healthcare system.
Much work still needs to be done in delivering effective health services in Afghanistan.
(Based on WHO/UN report)