The Kabul Times.
Health

MSF reports basic medical needs of Afghans are not being met

A doctor measures the blood pressure of a patient at the Kahdistan health clinic in Herat province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 7. The increasing presence of midwives across the country has started to play a role in improving a mother’s and baby’s chances of survival. Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate has dropped from 1,300 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2002 to 638 deaths per 100,000 births in 2017. Lynzy Billing for Foreign Policy

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday said despite the international community having touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, strong evidence shows that the health system is unable to meet the basic medical needs of Afghans.
“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”
In a briefing paper published Tuesday MSF said Afghans today are struggling to access basic healthcare facilities as a result of violence and insecurity, poverty, and an under-funded and under-resourced health system.
“Every day, Afghans must undertake dangerous journeys across active frontlines and mined roads, through checkpoints and areas controlled by armed groups to seek medical care.
“They are often unable or too afraid to leave their homes, and, when medical emergencies happen, such delays can prove fatal.”
MSF also stated that healthcare facilities in Afghanistan are attacked more often than almost anywhere in the world, forcing their temporary or permanent closure and depriving millions of access to vital medical services.
“In addition to creating a climate of fear, such attacks severely limit access to vital medical services by forcing health providers to suspend or discontinue activities,” MSF reported.
Citing World Health Organization (WHO) findings, MSF stated that up to three million people were deprived of essential health services in Afghanistan in 2020 as a result of health facilities forced to close by parties to the conflict.
In addition, the organization said the humanitarian crisis, compounded by the health and socioeconomic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, is worsening throughout the country.
According to MSF, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial hardship for Afghans and that many have lost their livelihoods as a result of border closures, reduced commercial activity and job losses, and are receiving less in overseas remittances.
“Direct medical and non-medical costs put healthcare further out of reach for people living in poverty,” the report stated.
MSF stated that in recent years, “the international community has touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, despite strong evidence that the health system is unable to meet Afghans’ basic medical needs.”
“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”
Actors, such as MSF, have stepped in to fill important gaps in health service provision. “However, the situation is not sustainable, as humanitarian needs multiply and add further pressure on already overburdened medical facilities,” MSF reported.
The organization also warned that national and international stakeholders must recognise that basic services, such as healthcare, are insufficient and incapable of addressing Afghans’ immediate needs, and that now is not the time to reduce humanitarian support to Afghanistan.
“Access to quality and affordable medical care for all must be made an urgent priority,” MSF said.

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The Kabul Times.