Drug addiction, child malnutrition highlight Afghanistan’s health crisis

Kabul, Jan 1 (EFE).- Around 3.5 million Afghans suffer from drug addiction and 2.3 million children face malnutrition, statistics that shine a light on the fragility of the country’s health system, which is compounded by an acute humanitarian crisis since the coming to power of the Taliban in August last year.

The figures were published by Abdul Bari Omar, the deputy minister of public health in the Taliban government during a press conference Saturday.

He said that each drug addict in Afghanistan consumed around $3-worth of narcotics each day.

Omar said the government was reaching out to international donors to help confront the perilous situation.

So far the administration of nine hospitals has been handed to the Red Cross, which pays the staff and keeps the centers running.

Omar said that just three hospitals are equipped to deal with drug addiction issues, down from 88.

The situation is further complicated by a surge in Covid-19 patients in the country’s hospitals as well as the fact that many health centers halted operations after the Taliban came to power in August, which saw medical salaries suspended for months as foreign aid dried up.

“At the moment we don’t have the resources to provide facilities and salaries at all of the coronavirus hospitals in the country,” he added.

Public health ministry spokesman ​​Jawid Hazhir said: “95% of the Afghan health sector relied on foreign aid, and when the Islamic Emirate came to power, this aid was halted, and this caused problems.”EFE


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