Afghans are dying for a lack of medicine
“We just buried my mother. Do you believe She was too young to die. I can’t take her place for my younger siblings. “
These are the painful words of my 17-year-old cousin Sima, who lost her mother just hours before we spoke. My aunt BB was only 40 years old. She lived in the Ghazni province of southeastern Afghanistan. She died of uterine bleeding due to infection. Doctors at Ghazni’s provincial hospital told her they had no medicine or facilities to treat her and that she should go to Kabul or abroad. She couldn’t either.
Gul Ahmed, who lives in Ghor province and whose 5-year-old son died of diarrhea last week, had a similar story: “He had no money to take his son to another hospital and he died.
Afghanistan is in the throes of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. By 2022, more than 24.4 million people will need humanitarian health care, approximately two-thirds of the population. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Afghanistan’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapse. Afghanistan’s banking crisis and lack of funding mean that most healthcare workers have not been paid for months, and hospitals and clinics are in dire need of essential medicines and supplies.
The country is facing a number of diseases including Kovid-19, measles and diarrhea as well as severe malnutrition. As many Afghans sink deeper into poverty, the lines outside health facilities are widening. “People come to our hospital, they bring their malnourished children, and we don’t have enough medicine,” a health worker in Bamiyan told me. “Every week I see three or four children dying of malnutrition, an inevitable death.”
Unfortunately, my aunt BB will not be the last to die from preventable and preventable deaths through access to essential, basic health services. While pressuring Taliban authorities to stop human rights abuses, donors need to pay attention to the economic crisis that is hitting Afghans every day. They need to take urgent steps to help Afghanistan’s economy work and rebuild Afghanistan’s fragile healthcare system.
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