Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and its fragile health system remains in need of critical support. WHO and partners have scaled up support to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the lives of the Afghan people. The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) provided US$ 45 million to WHO and UNICEF to sustain 2,149 primary and secondary health facilities in 31 provinces (previously supported under the Sehatmandi project) from November 2021 – January 2022, The remaining three provinces — Parwan, Kapisa and Panjsher — are supported by WHO and UNICEF through internal funding (162 health facilities).
Together with UNICEF, WHO has secured US$100 million from the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to support the next phase of Sehatmandi from February until June 2022. UNICEF will support primary healthcare level services, while WHO will support secondary healthcare services across the 34 provinces.
Thanks to this, essential medicines and medical supplies, as well as fuel for heating have been provided to the health facilities to cover their essential needs during the harsh winter. The funding also covers other operational costs, including salaries for around 25,000 health workers.
There are still many gaps to address. Afghanistan is currently facing numerous outbreaks including acute watery diarrhoea, measles, dengue fever, COVID-19 and malaria, which have increased the burden on the already fragile health system. Despite all efforts, more than 1,200 health facilities and over 11,000 health workers are not covered through the support provided through UN CERF or ARTF. This includes the majority of hospitals designated for COVID-19 care.
- As part of the assistance to health facilities previously under the Sehatmandi project, WHO is supporting 1,202 health facilities in 17 provinces and covering the salaries of 14,000 health workers. The salaries for No-vember have been dispersed. Payments for December have been finalized.
- The national polio vaccination campaign was held from 13 - 16 December. This was the second nation-wide campaign after the transition of government, the campaign was synchronized with the Pakistan NID. Over eight million children aged between 0 - 59 months were reached. The first National Immunization Day (NID) of 2022 will take place later this month.
- In response to the measles outbreak, WHO supported a measles vaccination campaign in six provinces during December 2021. The campaign targeted 1.4 million children aged 9—59 months.