Kabul, Jan 9: Ninety per cent of Afghanistan's healthcare centres are on the verge of collapse, which in turn is "depriving millions of basic care, threatening the Covid-19 response and creating a major risk of disease outbreaks, malnutrition and preventable deaths", said a humanitarian organisation.
Highlighted the "growing" humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report: "Afghanistan rises to the top of Watchlist as the population increasingly cannot meet basic needs and the economy and public services collapse, despite the end of major conflict," TOLO News reported.
The IRC report underscored that the suspension of international donors' funding and the freezing of Afghan assets caused the closing of the health centre and an economic meltdown amid drought, hunger and the ongoing Covid pandemic.
"A cash shortage means Afghans are running out of money while prices of basic items, from food to medicine, are skyrocketing. Afghanistan could see near universal poverty by mid-2022, with 97 per cent of Afghans impoverished, according to the UN. Unaddressed, this economic crisis will drive up humanitarian needs, from food insecurity and malnutrition to health crises," it added.
However, officials from the Taliban-led Ministry of Public Health on Saturday rejected the possibility of 90 per cent of health facilities in the country closing, while acknowledging challenges in the health sector.
The officials urged international health organisations to support Afghanistan's health sector.