In 2022, Afghanistan's health system also faced problems. This year, two instances of polio were reported, which dimmed hopes for the country's polio eradication.
More than 90% of the country's health facilities are at risk of closure, according to the International Rescue Committee's most recent report. One of the main issues that worried the country's residents the most this year was malnutrition, particularly among children.
Save the Children said on January 22, 2022, that there were 700,000 malnourished children in Afghanistan. In its report, the organization issued a warning about the rising rate of child malnutrition.
In a report, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that 3.2 million Afghan children suffer from acute malnutrition, of which more than one million of them at risk of death.
"In the past years the number of malnourished patients were few, now we have up to twenty-five hospitalized patients daily,” said Sayed Muslim, a pediatrician.
In a recent report, World Health Organization (WHO) called the health services in Afghanistan alarming and urged swift action to prevent the collapse of the country's healthcare system.
“If the aid that is provided in the health sector is not distributed in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, the crisis in the health sector may escalate and people may face more problems,” said Javid Hazhir, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health.
For many people in the nation, the lack of health facilities was a major issue. Due to the lack of hospitals and physicians in the provinces, a large number of people from all over the country visited Kabul for treatment.
According to the International Rescue Committee's figures, 90% of health centers were on the verge of closure. The majority of the hospitals in the provinces were reliant on foreign assistance.
The Ministry of Public Health asked international organizations for Afghanistan's healthcare system.
“Why do the health staff, doctors, nurses and patients need to be involved in political agenda? They are a non-political part of society,” Abdul Bari Omar, former deputy minister of public health.
In Afghanistan, two polio cases were recorded in 2022. A child was diagnosed with the disease on February 6 in the Dila district of Paktika, and nearly seven months later, a second case of child polio was reported in the Dara-e-Pech District of Kunar.
The Ministry of Public Health launched nine rounds of polio vaccination campaigns to fight the disease, and millions of children were vaccinated throughout the campaigns.
The year 2022 was hard for polio vaccination campaign workers. Following the deaths of eight vaccination campaigners in the Kunduz and Takhar provinces, the World Health Organization halted the polio campaign there.
“Geneva Call is a neutral, independent, impartial organization that works in 17 countries in the world and we do one thing, we will promote the humanitarian norms for protection of civilians. We believe promotion and protection of civilians is not only the job of the trainers, everyone has a responsibility,” said Faryana Fedaie, the director of Geneva Call Afghanistan.
Afghanistan ranked third in the world in terms of the growth in measles cases in 2022, despite the Ministry of Public Health repeatedly launching vaccination campaigns around the nation.
According to a World Health Organization survey, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan are the three nations with the greatest number of measles cases reported in the world.
“To prevent outbreaks of this disease there should be immunization campaigns every three years, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic these nationwide campaigns were interrupted and we have seen an increasing number of unimmunized vulnerable children and therefore a surge recently in measles cases. There is an urgent need for a nationwide measles campaign,” said Sam Mort, chief of communication for UNICEF Afghanistan.
Afghanistan had a medicine shortage in the first few months of 2022, especially in respect to medicines for diabeties and cancer.
Afghanistan was experiencing an unprecedented lack of medicines, the Union of Pharmacists said.
This year, the price of various medications also increased in the capital.
“The money of traders is frozen in banks. Our products are stopped at the customs,” Asadullah Kakar, the head of the Afghanistan Pharmaceutical Union.
In order to reduce maternal and infant mortality, the United Nations Population Fund set up 10 health centers in the Gor province two weeks ago.
"The project's goal is to increase women and children's access to health care. Safe births are also carried out at these centers,” said Sediqullah Hasanzai, the project manager in Ghor.
In addition to the challenges and issues faced by the health sector, the Ministry of Public Health also made progress in this area. At the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital, the department for pediatric cardiac surgery was launched.
The World Health Organization also contributed $400,000 for the establishment of infectious diseases hospital's emergency department.
The acting Minister of Public Health, Qalandar Ibad, said that the section includes 20 beds and is funded with $400,000 in cooperation with the World Health Organization.
“There was some (equipment) which was not present, so how could we call it the Infectious Diseases Hospital?" he said.
The Ministry of Public Health received ambulances that were purchased from Uzbekistan a month ago for more than $6 million.
Afghanistan's health sector now depends on aid from the international community, and most aid organizations, particularly the Red Cross and the World Health Organization, support Afghanistan in this area.
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