Afghan health system at risk of collapse

Doctors Without Borders says Afghanistan's healthcare system is at risk of collapse.

While focus has centered on evacuations from the capital Kabul, those who don't have the choice to flee or are choosing to stay face a desperate situation.

Doctors Without Borders - known officially as Médecins Sans Frontières - have a longstanding presence in Afghanistan where they operate on a basis of political neutrality.

Their current initiatives range from a maternity facility in the eastern city of Khost, to a full hospital facility in Helmand province in the south.

However, foreign donors halted their aid in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

And MSF Afghanistan representative Filipe Ribeiro warns that the already weak healthcare system could crumble.

"The overall health system in Afghanistan is understaffed, under-equipped, and underfunded, for years. And the great risk is that this underfunding will continue over time."

Here he describes just how vital their maternity clinic is for women in Khost:

"We are having something like an average of 50 to 60 deliveries a day, which is huge. It does represent something like 40 to 50 percent of the yearly deliveries in Khost province. There is nowhere in the world, as far as I know, one single maternity that is meant to perform 50 percent of the deliveries of one single province."

Ribeiro says MSF are also worried about bringing supplies into the country.

The Taliban have struggled to re-establish basic services since they swept into Kabul, with many specialists associated with the Western-backed government joining an exodus out of the country.

Others have remained at home out of fear of reprisal.

MSF said they are committed to staying. They have also actively engaged with the Taliban for years in order to maintain their ability to do so.

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