Afghanistan - Ministry of Public Health and UNICEF jets in emergency supplies to support COVID-19 response
Kabul, 9 June 2020 – As Afghanistan grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, flew in emergency health supplies today to Kabul. The shipment consists of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for frontline health workers, who are at high risk of being infected with the virus. This is part of the World Bank financed COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.
Dr. Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of Public Health of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomed the support of the World Bank and UNICEF in ensuring continued health service provision, especially at this critical time of the pandemic. “This shipment is crucial for Afghanistan, especially that we cannot combat and overcome this virus alone,” says Dr. Ahmad Jawad Osmani. “We thank the World Bank for its timely support amidst global demand. Together with UNICEF, partners and communities, we will ensure that emergency resources and services reach the people most at risk, to prevent, contain and respond to this deadly virus.”
Official figures show that as of 9 June, 20,917 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 in Afghanistan, of which 1336 (6%) are health care providers. In order to ensure continuity of essential health services, the protection of health care providers in the execution of their duties, is critical.
“As Afghanistan sees a surge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, arrival of this PPE shipment will enable the health workers to provide better service to the COVID-19 patients as well as protect themselves from being infected,” says Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is already struggling with challenges in the health sector and in this time of urgency, the protection of medical workers must remain a top priority. The World Bank is working closely with the Ministry of Public Health to speed up the implementation of the Afghanistan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project and help the country during this difficult time with minimum possible damage.”
The shipment includes 150,000 PPEs to be used by 6,821 frontline health care providers over an initial 6 months period. This will enable health care providers to scale up the identification and management of up to 10,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
"This assistance has come at a crucial time as Afghanistan struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic amidst other ongoing and evolving priorities,” says Dr. Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative. “We are grateful support of the Ministry of Public Health in helping us reach Afghanistan’s children and their families with essential health services."
Since the start of the outbreak, UNICEF has invested over US$2.5 million to support the Government of Afghanistan with multi sectoral interventions including the development and distribution of Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) materials around prevention, addressing myths, rumors and stigma, treatment and care. UNICEF also secured nutrition and hygiene supplies; provided essential drugs for children under five; supported routine immunization; online learning especially for out-of-school children as well as assistance to children in institutions, and detention centres.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Afghanistan, visit www.unicef.org/afghanistan.