The World Well being Organisation voiced deep concern Friday over healthcare entry in Afghanistan amid a sweeping Taliban offensive as US troops pull out of the war-torn nation.
“It’s a terribly concerning situation, and it’s very fluid right now,” mentioned Rick Brennan, the WHO emergencies director within the Jap Mediterranean area.
“We are clearly concerned about the decline in the access to healthcare,” he added, talking to journalists in Geneva through video-link from Cairo.
His feedback got here because the Taliban on Friday claimed to be in charge of 85 p.c of Afghanistan, together with a key border crossing with Iran, as US troops continued to withdraw.
Hours after US President Joe Biden issued a staunch defence of the withdrawal, the Taliban mentioned fighters had seized the border city of Islam Qala — finishing an arc of territory from the Iranian border to the frontier with China.
Brennan mentioned numerous healthcare workers had left well being amenities over safety fears, however that some had additionally opted to return.
“It’s a mixed picture right now,” he mentioned.
Brennan mentioned the WHO didn’t have direct communications and dialogue with the Taliban.
However he mentioned the UN company had acquired requests from some districts that had been taken over by the Taliban for it “to stay to continue the continuity of health services.”
He harassed that the WHO, and particularly its polio vaccination channel, had managed to remain and ship providers in troublesome situations up to now.
“I think that is going to provide us a platform to continue to provide services, but … things can change on a daily basis and we are clearly very concerned,” he mentioned.
The newest unrest in Afghanistan comes because the nation faces a slew of crises, together with a devastating third wave of COVID-19 infections, as vaccination charges stay extraordinarily low, with fewer than 4 p.c of the inhabitants vaccinated.
Up to now, the nation formally counts 131,586 instances and 5,561 COVID deaths, however Brennan harassed these figures “represent a significant underestimate”.
The UN youngsters’s company UNICEF mentioned Friday that greater than 1.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine arrived in Afghanistan on Friday.
They constituted the primary cargo of a complete of three.3 million doses that had been donated by the USA and delivered by the vaccine-sharing platform Covax.
Whereas this cargo was very welcome, UNICEF and the WHO harassed that many extra vaccines could be wanted to assist rein within the exponential improve in instances in Afghanistan since final month.
“We’ll need millions more to reach the target,” Brennan mentioned, pointing to the WHO-declared purpose of each nation vaccinating no less than 40% of their inhabitants by year-end.