Afghanistan records drop in COVID testing, vaccinations as crisis worsens
Amid the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there has been a drop in COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in the troubled country and that around 1.6 million doses of vaccine could expire in near future.
"Since August, @WHO has sent life-saving medicines and medical supplies to 360 health facilities in #Afghanistan to cover the #health needs of 3.9 million people," WHO's regional office tweeted.
On Wednesday, WHO delivered supplies to two hospitals in Kabul and the UN agency's provincial offices for onward distribution.
"Today, supplies were sent to 2 hospitals in #Kabul and @WHO provincial offices for onward distribution. The supplies will cover the health needs of 50,000 people in #Afghanistan."
This comes as UN humanitarian agencies and their partners urged countries to honour their pledges to Afghanistan, as they rush to scale up delivery of lifesaving aid ahead of the coming winter season there.
Afghanistan was already among the world's worst humanitarian situations prior to the Taliban assuming power in August, which has deepened existing needs and vulnerabilities.
A USD 606 million flash appeal launched in September to assist more than 10 million vulnerable Afghans is less than 40 per cent funded. Humanitarians warned that donor pledges and commitments "must urgently be turned into reality" before it is too late.
"Afghanistan is on borrowed time," said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, Representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in the country. "I have never before seen a crisis unfold at this pace and scale."
Afghanistan has suffered decades of conflict and displacement, as well as chronic poverty, severe drought, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly half the population, more than 18 million people, require aid assistance to survive, while conflict and insecurity have displaced more than 3.5 million, with nearly 700,000 uprooted this year alone.