Afghanistan Health Care Collapse Threatens Lives Of Millions
Health care in Afghanistan has literally collapsed in a matter of months, disrupted by conflict and starved of foreign assistance, according to UN agencies and NGOs working in the country. Thousands of medical staffers have not been paid in six months and clinics have no medicine or equipment, Tim Lister reported for CNN.
Photo Insert: Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in Kabul
The NGO Save The Children says the breakdown of Afghanistan's health system will result in the deaths of thousands more children under the age of five every month as winter approaches.
The absence of health care for a majority of Afghans -- especially outside the cities -- is part of a perfect storm of crises descending on the country.
There are chronic food shortages. More than 12 million Afghans face hunger and depend on food aid, according to the UN; malnutrition is rising sharply. There is an acute shortage of cash, making it difficult for NGOs still working in Afghanistan to pay salaries and buy supplies.
More than 600,000 Afghans have been displaced this year. According to UN figures, 80% of them are women and children. Coronavirus infections are rising again, with the vast majority of the population still not fully vaccinated.
A lack of reliable figures and very little testing make the impact of the pandemic difficult to gauge. According to the UN, before August of this year, 2.2 million Afghans had been vaccinated against COVID-19.