September 14, 2022
Addressing Sexual Violence in Eastern DRC – Testimonial
Before the withdrawal of international forces and the takeover by the Tabilan in August 2021, Afghanistan was already one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse, as humanitarian agencies left the country and women were banned from working, even for humanitarian programs.
Within months, the Afghan health system collapsed and cases of malnutrition, communicable diseases, maternal and infant mortality multiplied. Today, more than two thirds of the population need humanitarian aid and more than 20 million people suffer from famine. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimates that a record 28.3 million people will need humanitarian and protection assistance in 2023, up from 24.4 million in 2022 and 18.4 million in 2021. While in the past, the humanitarian needs were driven mainly by conflict, 2023 is marred by a multitude of factors: drought, climate disaster, protection threats (particularly for women and girls) and the economic crisis.
Afghan women and girls have seen more restrictions imposed on them since the takeover of the Taliban. Afghan women cannot move or act freely in the country without a “mahram” (male family member). They are no longer able to work, even in cases of humanitarian aid. In this context, they face many obstacles to access care and humanitarian aid, and their health is seriously threatened. Today, 4 million pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children are at risk.
Following the Taliban’s takeover and faced with a major humanitarian crisis, the association has again been running a medical aid program since April 2022 to improve access to all healthcare.
Currently, Doctors of the World is supporting a district hospital which works with 1 million people in a particularly underprivileged district. Since 2022, we have rehabilitated part of the hospital dedicated to women and children, carried out gynecological follow-up, deliveries and pediatric consultations for 23,000 Afghan women and their babies. At the same time, we continue to provide logistical and financial support to the hospital.
Today, the needs remain immense. This is why our teams are mobilized on site to restore access to quality health services for the population, in particular through:
Faced with the scale of the risks, Doctors of the World will remain mobilized to demand and facilitate fair and universal access to health care for the Afghan populations.