UN releases emergency funds to save Afghan health system from collapse

Published September 22, 2021
A patient suffering from Covid-19 receives treatment at the Afghan-Japan Hospital in Kabul. — Reuters/File
A patient suffering from Covid-19 receives treatment at the Afghan-Japan Hospital in Kabul. — Reuters/File

The United Nations aid chief said on Wednesday he had released $45 million in emergency funds to help prevent Afghanistan's battered healthcare system from collapsing.

Martin Griffiths, the UN's Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, warned in a statement that “medicines, medical supplies and fuel are running out in Afghanistan.”

“Cold chains are compromised. Essential healthcare workers are not being paid,” he said.

Afghanistan's healthcare system was plunged into crisis after the Taliban swept into power last month, complicating aid deliveries and leaving many health facilities understaffed.

Read: First PIA flight lands in Afghanistan carrying medical aid from WHO

In a bid to avert catastrophe, Griffiths said he was releasing funds from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund to boost life-saving support in Afghanistan.

“Allowing Afghanistan's healthcare delivery system to fall apart would be disastrous,” he said.

“People across the country would be denied access to primary health care such as emergency caesarian sections and trauma care.”

The funds, he said, would go to the UN's health and children's agencies, allowing them with the help of partner NGOs to keep hospitals, Covid-19 centres and other health facilities operating until the end of the year.

“The UN is determined to stand by the people of Afghanistan in their hour of need,” Griffiths said.

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