Rising health risks threatening Afghan children
Kabul, Dec 31 (UNI/Xinhua): Millions of Afghan children are increasingly vulnerable to disease due to a combination of rising malnutrition, food crisis and a deteriorating humanitarian situation, according to a statement of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, outbreaks of life-threatening diseases are putting children’s lives at risk. More than 66,000 cases of measles have been so far reported in children in 2021,” the statement posted on the UNICEF-Afghanistan website said.
There have also been outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea, malaria and dengue fever. Four cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV-1) have been confirmed this year, it added.
“We are approaching a critical juncture for Afghanistan’s children, as winter brings with it a multitude of threats to their health,” Abdul Kadir Musse, UNICEF Afghanistan representative, was quoted in the statement as saying.
“There is no time to lose. Without urgent, concerted action, including ensuring we have the resources to deploy additional cash transfers and winter supplies, many of the country’s children will not live to see spring,” he said.
The UNICEF estimates that one in two children under five will be acutely malnourished in 2022 due to the food crisis and poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Earlier this month, UNICEF appealed for a 2-billion-US dollar fund to respond to humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.