Afghanistan’s Children at Risk as Healthcare System Collapses and Foreign Funding Freezes
In Afghanistan, a lack of resources in public healthcare is causing preventable deaths of children. At the main hospital in the western province of Ghor, there isn’t a single working ventilator, and mothers hold oxygen tubes near their babies’ noses because masks designed to fit their small faces are not available. With at least two sick children in each bed, the two nurses struggle to look after 60 children, making it impossible to provide critical care.
Despite being the best-equipped public hospital accessible to the million people in Ghor, it is far from adequate. Furthermore, foreign funds that almost entirely funded public healthcare was frozen in August 2021 when the Taliban seized power, resulting in humanitarian agencies facing difficulties operating. Recently, the Taliban banned women from working for NGOs, putting even more children and babies at risk. All these factors have led to the deaths of children like three-month-old Tayabullah, whose preventable illnesses should have been curable. Even two-year-old Gulbadan, who was born with a heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus, is struggling to survive due to a lack of proper medical equipment and medicines in the hospital. The situation in Afghanistan’s public healthcare system is dire, and the lives of innocent children are at risk.