URUZGAN, Afghanistan, 14 September 2020. UNICEF opens a new office in Tirinkot city in Uruzgan, a province in southern Afghanistan. This will enable UNICEF and its partners to provide life-saving services closer to most vulnerable population particularly children and women.
‘I am proud to be part of this historical moment in the lives of children and women in the southern part of the country,’ says Dr. Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Representative, Afghanistan. ‘This is the first UNICEF office in Tirinkot since UNICEF’s operation started in Afghanistan in 1949. ‘
Children and women in southern area of Afghanistan are most hard hit. Due to violence, insecurity, close to 900,000 people in Uruzgan province have been cut off from access to basic services. Over 175,000 under-five children are in dire need of basic services. Only 54 health facilities are operating, and routine immunization coverage is estimated to be as low as three per cent. In addition, education remains a challenge in the province, where 8 out of 10 girls are out-of-school.
Another sad reality for children in Uruzgan, is that the polio transmission has also worsened in Uruzgan and other neighboring southern provinces. To date, 32 out of 46 confirmed polio cases in the country are from the southern region.
With partners on the ground, UNICEF will hopefully be able to reach most underserved children with basic education, especially girls. Also, provide support to healthcare and quality immunization services, improved nutrition, child protection, and access to safe drinking water.
“Our aim is to reach every child, wherever she or he lives,” adds Dr. Kampo. “The children of Afghanistan need our services, and Uruzgan is no an exception to that.”
“The outpost remains the quickest entry point to reach and protect vulnerable communities and their children against disease outbreaks such as polio,” says Mohammed Mohammedi, UNICEF Afghanistan Chief of Immunization. “With the resumption of campaigns, with partners, UNICEF will provide integrated services including nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection.’
UNICEF and partners remain committed to bringing integrated child-focused services closer to children. Thanks to our donors, especially Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the construction and opening of the UNICEF Uruzgan office has been made possible.
UNICEF, as the only multi sectoral UN agency with one of the largest footprints in country, is providing technical and coordination support to the Government of Afghanistan and other partners at national and subnational level, across all regions. This includes support in key areas of health, risk communication and community engagement, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, education, protection and procurement. UNICEF has strategically shifted some of its available resources and infrastructure to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
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