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The Financial Express

Hundreds of medical facilities at risk of closure in Afghanistan: WHO

| Updated: September 07, 2021 16:06:02


A general view of the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2021. WANA via REUTERS A general view of the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2021. WANA via REUTERS

Around 90 per cent of 2,300 health facilities across the country might have to close as soon as this week, the UN health agency's regional emergency director, Rick Brennan, told Reuters in an interview.

He said that Western donors had regulations which prevented them from dealing with the Taliban, without going into further detail, reports Reuters. 

"We are going to have a pause in operations in a large proportion of those (health facilities). By some estimates up to 90 per cent will cease functioning probably later in the week and that will be associated with increased illness and death," Brennan said.

The WHO was trying to fill the gap by providing supplies, equipment and financing to 500 of the health centres, he said.

The agency was also liaising with Qatar for medical deliveries to come by plane, he added.

"We are hoping to have up to two or three plane-loads of supplies airlifted from the government of Qatar probably into Kabul in the next week or so," he said.

The next deliveries would include COVID tests and supplies to treat chronic diseases.

Along with other aid agencies, the WHO has struggled to bring in medical supplies including trauma kits partly because of chaos at Kabul airport.

Medical supplies continue to be flown in via the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and the WHO is also exploring overland options via trucks from Pakistan, Brennan said.

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