• Trauma care: The attack at Kabul airport on August 26 resulted in over 170 deaths and 200 injuries. Most patients were presented to Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, which is the main public medical centre providing trauma care in the city. WHO has been supporting Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital through its major trauma program, including the provision of supplies, equipment and training. In May-June a team of international trauma experts trained medical staff from five trauma centres on mass casualty management (MCM), including Wazir Akbar Khan. The team assisted these hospitals to develop MCM plans and has continued to provide remote technical support since, including the conduct of MCM simulation exercises. In addition, WHO supplied WHO AFGHANISTAN | Emergency Situation Report, Issue 2 Wazir Akbar Khan with trauma supplies two weeks ago. In response to the influx of casualties on August 26, Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital activated their MCM plan, which helped in the management of a highly complex and demanding situation. Medical staff have remained in contact with WHO experts to share details of the event and to receive additional guidance.
• IDPs: Urgent health care services remain available to IDPs in Kabul. Some IDPS are reported to be returning to their homes while others will get re-displaced as result of this movement.
• Aid cuts: Given the recent developments, the World Bank has frozen all aid to Afghanistan. More than 2,500 health facilities, and salaries of more than 2,000 health workers supported under the World Bank co-funded Sehatmandi project will be impacted as a result. Currently, more than 3,800 health facilities supported under the project remain fully or partially non-functional.
However, NGOs delivering the project have scaled-down implementation, causing immediate suspension of some services at health facilities, including referrals and outpatient food provision.
A small number of health facilities supported under the project have enough health supplies to continue services for a few months while majority are running out fast. In the absence of sustained funding, this aid cut could leave hundreds of thousands of Afghans without health care and disproportionately affect women.
• COVID-19: Afghanistan has reported 152,960 COVID-19 cases and 7,101 deaths as of 26 August 2021 with a PCR positivity rate of around 20%. Gaps in COVID-19 testing and surveillance persist due to shortage of laboratory reagents for testing and possible low utilization of services due to the recent insecurity. Shortage of testing supplies at public laboratories can’t be plugged until WHO’s consignment of 50,000 testing kits awaiting shipment can arrive in the country.
• Disruptions of health services: Hospitals managed by the Ministry of Public Health report lack of funds for operational costs including fuel, liquid waste management and staff salaries. Five mobile teams supported by a local NGO and health services for victims of gender-based violence have been stopped from operating in Nangahar province in east of the country for unknown reasons.