After decades of instability, drought, and natural disasters, Afghanistan is currently facing a devastating humanitarian crisis. This crisis is characterized by a lack of access to health care and food, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition and the spread of diseases. Women and girls are particularly affected, as disenfranchisement limits their access to healthcare, education, and freedom of movement. Despite these challenges, Afghan medical professionals, including thousands of women workers, continue to provide critical medical care with the support of humanitarian agencies, donor partners, and various healthcare workers. According to Dr. Fawzia Shafiq, a UNICEF Afghanistan Health Officer, the dedication and courage of Afghan health workers are commendable as they have provided health and nutrition services to nearly 20 million Afghans in the first half of the year.
To support these efforts, UNICEF and its partners not only pay the salaries of approximately 27,000 health workers, including 10,000 women, but also cover the operating costs of over 2,400 health facilities and provide them with necessary medical supplies. However, the medical needs in Afghanistan continue to rise. The World Health Organization recently issued a warning, highlighting the urgent need for increased investment in health service delivery to protect the investments made by the international community over the decades. While humanitarian organizations play a crucial role, they cannot fully replace a well-functioning public health system. It is essential for Afghanistan to urgently develop a health system that effectively meets the needs of its population, particularly children, to ensure their healthy growth and development.
This photo essay has been provided by UNICEF.