COVID-19 rates are soaring in Afghanistan as healthcare facilities collapse, says health minister

Insider was told by the acting minister of health in Afghanistan that only 1/3 of all tests have come back positive.
The rates of testing and vaccination are falling.

The collapse of healthcare facilities is imminent, with many clinics running out oxygen.

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The Afghan healthcare system is in danger of collapsing. Insider has learned that about a third of all COVID-19 test results from Afghanistan on September 7 were positive.

The potential for a new strain of the virus to enter the country, which is having trouble getting COVID-19-PCR tests, is being faced by the Taliban overthrow.

While many politicians fled Afghanistan, Dr. Wahid Majrooh remained as acting health minister when Kabul fell. He is Afghanistan's chief for public health and hopes to steer the system through the Taliban regime.

June 2020: Wahid Majrooh, Afghanistan's Acting Minister for Public Health (2nd from left), inspects medical equipment at a COVID-19 Hospital in Kabul. (Photo by Sayed Muminzadah/Xinhua via Getty Images

Dr. Majrooh, still in Kabul with his loved ones, sounds tired as he talks about the crumbling health system to Insider.

"Yesterday we tested 299 samples and 101 were positive. This is a major concern for me."

Governance and surveillance are the most important aspects of COVID-19 management. They must be able to track data before they get out of control. This capacity has been lost."

Dr. Majrooh told Insider previously that PCR tests, and the ability track and trace COVID-19, were two of the many medical interventions that were lost in Afghanistan following the American withdrawal and the rise to the Taliban. He said the effects are now evident.

Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital's recovery unit houses a wounded patient. Kabul, Afghanistan. Thursday, August 26, 2021 MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES via Getty Images

"COVID-19 vaccinations are declining because primary healthcare facilities are the destinations of vaccine delivery. They are currently in the worst logistical situation," Dr. Majrooh stated.

"Patients don’t have food. Insider was told by Dr. Majrooh that the facilities lack fuel and don't have oxygen.

According to Reuters, Rick Brennan, UN health agency's regional emergency chief, stated that approximately 90% of the country's health facilities might need to close in the near future.

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, major international organizations have stopped funding Afghanistan's healthcare system. The World Bank announced it would stop aiding Afghanistan.

"When we receive messages from the World Bank and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund donor - regardless of whether they claim that they have placed our funds on hold or frozen them - it means that 3700 health facilities are going to collapse. Dr. Majrooh told Insider that 35 million people's health will be destroyed.

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