Afghanistan’s health system is back to where it was 20 years ago – Afghanistan


The mediocrity of basic health care meets an unprecedented dramatic humanitarian situation. Johanniter therefore expands its activities to provide people with basic health care.

Berlin / Kabul – August 15, 2021 was a fateful day for millions of Afghans. With the seizure of power by the Taliban, many achievements of recent years for the civilian population have been destroyed. For example, the Afghan health system has fallen back to where it was 20 years ago due to the halt in international development assistance and economic isolation. “70% of the costs of basic medical care for the population have been covered by the international community in recent years. With their interruption, salaries can no longer be paid, medicines and equipment can no longer be purchased and medical facilities can no longer be operated,” says Holger Wagner, program manager at Johanniter International Assistance. “This poor basic supply now encounters an unprecedented dramatic humanitarian situation. Especially the children – if they survive – will see their development impaired, with fatal consequences for the future society of the country”, fears Wagner.

New projects launched and planned Johanniter is therefore continuing and expanding its activities in the medical field. A new project has just been launched in the province of Badghis. Together with its partner MMRCA, Johanniter will provide medical care to approximately 50,000 people in the coming months, through mobile health teams.

In the capital Kabul, Johanniter continues to provide medical care to tens of thousands of internally displaced people. “At the same time, we are currently looking to expand our business to Herat. Up to 3,000 Afghan returnees arrive here every day,” reports Naeem Shah, Johanniter head of mission in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of people had fled to Iran after the takeover and are again being expelled by the Iranian authorities. “Some are returning home, but many remain in camps or in host communities around Herat, near the Iranian border.”

Reconstruction in the seismic zone

Following the violent earthquake in eastern Afghanistan on June 21, Johanniter and its partner HADAAF continue to provide medical and reconstruction assistance in Khost province. Two mobile clinics travel daily to remote mountainous areas to treat the sick and injured. At the same time, 520 families in the Spera district were supported with mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils, tools and tarpaulins. 500 particularly affected families are also receiving assistance to repair shelters and new livestock to restore their incomes.


On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took power in Afghanistan. Since then, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased by 33%. Inflation, soaring food prices, natural disasters and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs due to international sanctions have driven almost the entire Afghan population to live below the poverty line. Almost half of the population can only afford one meal a day, which is why more than a million children under the age of five are already suffering from acute malnutrition. Johanniter has been active in the country for 20 years and, together with its partners, provides medical care to the population in different regions of the country.

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