Afghan population increasingly vulnerable to malnutrition, illness: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch released a grim report on the health of the Afghan population on Monday, warning that a lack of foreign aid to the country has led to more malnutrition and disease among Afghans.

THE new report said the reduction in foreign aid for public health in Afghanistan and the Taliban's abuses against women and girls have “jeopardized the right to health of millions of Afghans.” Since the Taliban took power in 2021, foreign aid to Afghanistan has dried up and left many people in poverty and hunger, the Associated Press noted.

“The loss of foreign development assistance and the Taliban's rights abuses have caused a catastrophic health crisis in Afghanistan that disproportionately harms women and girls,” said Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights. Watch, in a press release.

“The Taliban have severely prevented women from providing or accessing health care, while the cost of treatment and medicine has put care out of reach for many Afghans,” Abbasi added.

The report notes that the World Food Program said last year that malnutrition rates in Afghanistan had reached a record high, with about half of the population suffering severe hunger throughout the year.

The report also notes that there has been a sharp reduction in funds for hospitals in Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross supported 33 hospitals in the region in the two years after the Taliban took power, but ended its program last year when it began to experience shortages. own financing difficulties.

The report said aid organizations told Human Rights Watch they were considering closing hospitals and scaling back operations. Workers at those organizations also told the New York-based watchdog that they were short of medical supplies.

“All donors have reduced their aid…. We have closed some mobile teams because donors have reduced their support. We may have to close 10 major hospitals in the next six months,” an official with an international humanitarian organization told Human Rights Watch.

The report highlights that lack of access to enough food, water and medical supplies has led to an increase in illness.

“Inadequate access to food, clean water and health services has also led to an increase in preventable diseases. This has strained an already struggling health system as it grapples with increased demand, including an increased need for specialized care for people suffering from acute forms of malnutrition,” the report said.

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