Afghan Hospital Crisis as Airstrikes Cut Medicine Supply: Taliban
US airstrikes on Afghanistan have left the country's hospitals facing critical shortages of medicines and other key supplies, a senior Taliban health official said Tuesday.
"Some hospitals have enough medicine only for another two or three days. Others have already run out," said Doctor Abdul Hakim Hakimi, a senior official in the Public Health Ministry, which runs most hospitals in the country.
Afghan hospitals rely heavily on foreign aid and medicines delivered through international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Fund for Children (UNICEF) and various non governmental organisations (NGOs).
Since airstrikes began on October 7, however these organisations have been unable to make deliveries. "All our general stocks of medicine have been used up," Hakimi told AFP.
"The situation is very serious -- if we do not get more deliveries soon we will not be able to deal with the situation."
Airstrikes have further compounded the problems facing hospitals by cutting off power supplies in the cities of Kabul and Kandahar and making it harder for staff to get to work, he said.
"Most hospitals run their heating systems on electricity. Without it we cannot heat the wards."
Hakimi added that vaccination programmes had been disrupted as a result of the military campaign, raising the risk that diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and diptheria, which had been on the verge of eradication, could re-emerge.
"All the work we have done for the under-fives will be for nothing," Hakimi said.
Hospitals had also been forced to handle a sharp increase in the number of patients suffering from mental conditions including depression and extreme anxiety, since the start of the airstrikes.
Cases of malnutrition among children and stomach complaints -- the result of people being unable to boil water because of power shortages -- had also sharply increased -- Kabul, (AFP)
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