WHO has enough medical supplies in Afghanistan for a week

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A patient suffering from COVID-19 receives treatment at the Afghan-Japan Hospital.

The World Health Organization says it only has enough supplies in Afghanistan to last the next week after international medical deliveries were blocked amid ongoing restrictions at Kabul airport.

Kabul airport has been the center of chaos and violence ever since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan more than a week ago, prompting tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans to try to flee on evacuation flights.

Restrictions imposed on the airport have meant that medical supplies, including surgical equipment and severe malnutrition kits, could not be flown in, WHO officials said.

“We rapidly distributed lifesaving supplies to health facilities and partners in Kabul, Kandahar and Kunduz but WHO now only has enough supplies in country to last for one week,” WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said Tuesday during an online briefing.

“Yesterday 70 percent of these supplies were released to health facilities.”

A military plane takes off from Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Medical supplies, including surgical equipment and severe malnutrition kits, could not be flown in to Kabul after restrictions were imposed on the airport.
EPA/Stringer

Deliveries from Dubai of more than 500 tons of medical supplies were among those that have been held up because of the restrictions.

WHO’s regional emergency director Richard Brennan said they were encouraged by countries offering flights to bring supplies in with them.

“We’re in negotiations with three or four countries … I think we will be able to secure flights,” he said.

A patient suffering from COVID-19 receives treatment at the Afghan-Japan Hospital.
WHO worries about a potential COVID-19 spike in Afghanistan, as testing and vaccinations have severely dropped.
REUTERS/Stringer

“We have had some encouraging signs and encouraging communications, that the Taliban authorities have made it clear that they want the United Nations to stay, that they want the continuity of health services.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to get our operation back at increasing scale over the coming weeks.”

Among the other issues the WHO flagged was concerns over a potential spike in COVID-19 cases given that testing has dropped by 77 percent in the last week.

A patient suffering from COVID-19 receives treatment at the Afghan-Japan Hospital.
Taliban authorities have reportedly said they want the WHO to stay and that they want the continuity of health services.
REUTERS/Stringer

Vaccinations across the country are also down.

In addition, 95 percent of health facilities across Afghanistan remained operational but some female staff hadn’t returned to work and female patients were afraid to leave home amid the Taliban takeover.

With Post wires

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