Inside Afghanistan's Healthcare System

In Afghanistan, the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse

Inside Afghanistan's Healthcare System Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, thousands of medical professionals have left the country, putting the healthcare system under strain. Obtaining medicine has also become increasingly difficult with the withdrawal of international funding.
In Helmand, a Taliban fiefdom that was one of the most heavily affected by the war, things have become desperate, with local clinics barely functioning and unable to provide basic assistance. ‘Some of them have walked or driven many hours to come here and get seen; giving answers to all these people is a daily struggle’, says Dr Joana Castro, who has travelled from the UK to help in the crisis. She works in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Lashkar Gah, which is the only fully working hospital in the province. Continuous and severe droughts had a devastating impact on food supply and more patients than ever, especially children, are suffering from severe malnutrition. ‘When they come to the hospital, mostly they are coming in the last stages. You know when the damage is already too far gone’, says nurse Masood Khan. The UN estimates that as many as 97% of people in Afghanistan are living below the poverty line. ‘When I was younger I had a dream that I was going to save the world ... but a lot of problems are political’, says Joana.

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