Afghanistan: Negotiations Underway to Deliver 500 Tons of Emergency Medical Supplies, WHO Says |
The items, which are stranded in Dubai, were due to enter the country this week, but have been delayed as commercial flights are not allowed to enter the international airport in the capital, Kabul.
“My message to the people of #Afghanistan: we stand in solidarity with you, and we place your life, your health and your well-being as our top priority ”
Highlights from opening remarks by @WHOEMRO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari at the Afghanistan press conference today⬇️ pic.twitter.com/fAjSgoeeyj
– WHO EMRO (@WHOEMRO) August 24, 2021
Dr Richard Brennan, WHO The Cairo-based regional emergency director said the agency was exploring options and hopes to have “some more encouraging details” in the coming days. “We are in negotiations with the governments of three or four countries,” he told reporters, adding that he was not free to name them.
“I think we can secure flights to get the supplies, and in all likelihood to Kabul airport. And then, of course, there’s the somewhat complex logistical operation of unloading the planes, making sure that the trucks can enter the airport safely and securely, and depart safely. ”
Stocks are running out
WHO, present in Afghanistan for seven decades, underscored its commitment to stay in the country and build on the progress made over the past 20 years, especially in reducing maternal and child mortality. However, her medical supplies are running out.
“Usually in each country we have an emergency stock,” said Dr Rana Hajjeh, director of program management at the regional office, speaking through an interpreter.
“In the current situation, we have launched or released about 70% of the emergency stock that we have in the country. This stock would only be enough for a week, so we would need all the kits, medical supplies, equipment more than ever. ”
WHO recently carried out assessments to examine the health situation on the ground. While most major health facilities are functional and accessible, across the country they are experiencing severe supply shortages, according to Dr Dapeng Luo, the agency’s representative in Afghanistan.
Dr Luo stressed the urgent need for reproductive health services, mental health services, hygiene kits for newly displaced people and nutritional supplements for children. “Our assessment reveals that service delivery is supported by Taliban health authorities without any pressure on health personnel,” he said, speaking from Kabul.
“Health workers have been called upon to return to work or remain in their posts, including women health workers. However, some health workers are not returning to their posts and some have resigned from their posts due to the current insecurity situation. ”
Some health workers have resigned due to the continuing insecurity situation – Dr Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan
Pandemic and polio
Afghanistan also experienced what Dr Luo described as three significant waves of COVID-19[female[feminine infections, and WHO fears the current upheaval and displacement may trigger an increase.
Nearly 160,000 cases of the disease, and more than 7,000 deaths, had been recorded as of Monday. Insecurity has also lowered COVID-19 testing rates, dropping nearly 80% last week from the previous week.
With less than five percent of Afghans vaccinated, or around two million people, WHO and partners are working to scale up surveillance, testing and immunization among displaced populations.
“Stay and deliver”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the only countries that have not eradicated wild poliovirus. Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, stressed the need to act now, as there has been one case in each country for the year so far.
“As current events continue to unfold, WHO is fully committed to staying and delivering to Afghanistan,” he said, speaking on behalf of the agency’s nearly 700 staff, who are working in the 34 provinces.
“We now need the support of our donors and partners to count on us, work with us and help us save lives, promote health and help us serve the vulnerable. ”