Cut in foreign aid proving a challenge for Afghan health sector

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health said 90 percent of foreign aid to the health sector has been cut, which has resulted in serious challenges.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday in Kabul, Abdul Bari Omar, the deputy minister of health, said that despite the challenges, health centers are open across the country.

“They (foreign organizations) skip all their commitments, a crisis was created here. If it was to happen under the former government, they (former government) would also have faced such a crisis,” said Omar.

This comes as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the world. However, the health ministry said they want to curb the spread of the virus.

“It (new variant of COVID-19) has arrived in Pakistan; we call on international organizations to help us curb the spread of the virus. We are ready and have COVID-19 medicine,” added Omar.

Omar also noted that under the old government, 3.5 million people turned to drugs and became addicted.

Afghans meanwhile say services in government-run hospitals are bad.

“It (services) is not good, it is worse,” said Yousef, a relative of a patient currently in hospital.

“Doctors are trying [to save lives of patients]. We buy drugs at the bazaar. Our patient’s situation is not good,” said Jafar, another relative of a patient.

This comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned last month that unless help is provided, the Afghanistan health sector could collapse.

According to WHO, Afghan health centers face a critical shortage of medicines and medical supplies.