UPDATED: 29/09/2020

As community transmission continues in Afghanistan, COVID-19 and the secondary effects of the pandemic are creating grave implications for a country already struggling with deep seated poverty, long-running conflict and an extremely fragile health system.

According to a recent assessment by United Nations Development Programme, the pandemic could push Afghanistan’s already extreme poverty rate to nearly 70%.

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What is the current situation in Afghanistan?

Kabul remains the most affected part of the country in terms of confirmed cases however, due to the limited public health resources and testing capacity, as well as the absence of a national death register, confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 are likely to be under-reported in the country.

As the World Health Organisation noted, when health systems like Afghanistan's are overwhelmed, deaths both as a direct result of the outbreak and resulting from other preventable and treatable conditions increase dramatically. Indeed, Hospitals and clinics continue to report challenges maintaining or expanding their facilities’ capacity to treat patients with COVID-19, whilst maintaining essential health services.

Millions of Afghans were already facing extreme food insecurity and a lack of basic services, such as access to clean water and sanitation, continues to be a serious problem in many areas of the country. The existing challenges faced on a daily basis by these families are being magnified by this new threat. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and the spread of the pandemic poses a serious threat to their ability to cope. The cost of basic essentials has increased dramatically, leaving at least a third of the population faced with food shortages. This includes 7.3 million children, according to recent findings from Save The Children.

Recent conflict in the north-east and flooding in the centre and east of the country has affected and displaced thousands of families, compounding pre-existing issues faced by these families and the communities they settle in, and leaving them more vulnerable to serious consequences from COVID-19.

Schools across the country have now partially or fully reopened alongside social distancing rules, smaller classes and mandatory mask-wearing. After being closed for five months due to the pandemic, there is a lot to do to get these children back on track and there are concerns that this will cause a further spike in transmission.

Afghanaid’s response

Afghanaid has taken the necessary precautions to protect our staff and the communities we’re serving. We rapidly scaled-up our work to deliver life-saving support in response to the pandemic, adapted our existing work, and are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

We procured personal protective equipment for our teams on the ground, so as to ensure we can continue working and provide as much support as we can moving forward. We've been working with communities across the country, including some of the most remote and hard-to-reach villages to give men, women and children access to:

  • information and advice about COVID-19, hygiene and social distancing;
  • emergency food supplies;
  • hand washing stations;
  • complete family hygiene kits;
  • protective equipment;
  • and safe work opportunities.

We have also recently begun work with the World Food Programme delivering long-term support to rural families who have been affected by a loss of jobs and disrupted food supply chains.

  

We are continuing to monitor the secondary impacts on vulnerable families, which are exacerbating existing challenges and pushing households into desperate situations. Moving forward, we will continue to work with partners across the country to deliver assistance and support those who need it.

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a global pandemic on 11th March 2020 and is now straining health systems worldwide. Afghanaid would like to send a message of solidarity to everyone in Afghanistan and the world over at this difficult time, and wishes everyone well. 

How can you help people in Afghanistan?

Afghanaid is working incredibly hard to protect vulnerable communities in Afghanistan during this novel Coronavirus crisis. During challenging times, donations from our supporters are an absolutely vital resource for Afghanaid, and will help to ensure we can continue to reach those who need it most, and provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable.

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