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TOPSHOTS In this undated photograph released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on October 3, 2015, Afghan MSF medical personnel treat civilians injured following an offensive against Taliban militants by Afghan and coalition forces at the MSF hospital in Kunduz. An air strike on the hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz on October 3 left three Doctors Without Borders staff dead and dozens more unaccounted for, the medical charity said, with NATO conceding US forces may have been behind the bombing. The MSF facility is seen as a key medical lifeline in the region and has been running "beyond capacity" during recent fighting that saw the Taliban seize control of the provincial capital for several days. AFP PHOTO / MSF ----EDITORS NOTE---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/MSF" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -----MSF/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of hospitals could close across Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL – More than 33 hospitals are at immediate risk of closure because of a dire funding shortage. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an urgent appeal for $125 million to provide vital financial support to these medical facilities.

The WHO has sounded the alarm, warning that 33 hospitals it supports in Afghanistan are teetering on the brink of closure due to insufficient funds. Additionally, the organization has noted a decrease in its on-ground health teams, with numbers falling from 513 to 453 members.

In a statement, the WHO declared, “The operations of 33 hospitals in Afghanistan hang in the balance due to funding shortages. The health system’s transition strategy for Afghanistan is in its final stages, requiring an investment of approximately $2.4 million. Failure to address the funding gap for Afghanistan could result in severe malnutrition for 875,000 children.”

Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Public Health have indicated their readiness to take over funding responsibilities for these hospitals should closure occur. However, they are appealing for collaboration from international health institutions during this transition period to ensure that these facilities align with global standards.

Recognizing the significance of international expertise and support, the ministry aims to ensure uninterrupted healthcare services. Sharafat Zaman, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, stated, “If international organizations suspend their healthcare services or financial aid within the nation, the Ministry of Health is equipped to sustain healthcare provision for citizens using its internal budget.”

Responding to the Red Cross’s decision to cease financial support for hospitals, the Ministry of Public Health has devised a comprehensive plan. Starting September 1, the plan will initiate services for all hospitals, guaranteeing uninterrupted healthcare availability, as emphasized by Zaman.

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