By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Afghanistan signed a grant arrangement with the World Health Organization (WHO) Afghanistan on Monday, to support a new project aimed at supplementing the country’s efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19.
“Under the arrangement, WHO Afghanistan will receive about 1 million USD in assistance from the Government of the Republic of Korea to implement the “Strengthening Access to Quality Healthcare in the Most Vulnerable Population in Afghanistan” project, over a six-month period,” the Korea embassy said in a statement yesterday.
The grant arrangement was signed by Korean Ambassador Zha Hyoung Rhee, and Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, Country Representative for WHO Afghanistan, at a ceremony held at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea the other day.
Ambassador Rhee and Dr. Peeperkorn emphasized the importance of continued support from the international community to help Afghanistan in its fight against COVID-19.
“While the pandemic does not respect borders when it comes to its negative impacts, there is no denying that those countries which lack in medical infrastructure are more vulnerable,” said Ambassador Rhee.
“Considering Korea’s experiences, 3Ts, i.e., testing, tracking, and treatment constitute the major components of the effective response to the pandemic. I sincerely hope that the support from Korea, especially regarding the earliest stage of those response activities, will help mitigate, to a considerable extent, the impact of the pandemic which has been inflicting enormous damage not only on the already dire humanitarian situation but also on the essential socio-economic fabric of Afghanistan,” Ambassador Rhee added.
“The crisis is far from over,” said Dr. Peeperkorn. “Afghanistan has gone through a substantial first wave of COVID-19. We need to be better prepared for secondary spikes. As the country tackles the impacts of the pandemic, we must not lose focus on other pressing needs. Afghanistan needs continued and sustained solidarity and financial support from the international community to minimize healthcare disruptions, ensure maintenance and strengthening of essential health services and prepare for long-term social and economic recovery. WHO Afghanistan highly appreciates the valuable support of the Government of the Republic of Korea as it will help in boosting urgent COVID-19 response activities and in building a robust health system in the long-run,” Dr. Peeperkorn added.
The project is expected to bolster efforts to increase COVID-19 testing across the country through the provision of specimen collection kits for 15 Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), which will enable sample collection from 40,500 people; provision of diagnostic kits to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to cover testing for 50,000 people, and provision of testing consumables for RRTs and lab technicians across the country to cover testing needs for at least 10,520 people, according to the statement.
The project will also play a critical role in improving awareness about COVID-19 through community-based engagement, targeting 314,900 people across priority regions of the country and building field teams’ capacity to better engage and communicate with communities, the statement further said.