Humanitarian Health Action

WHO conducting a large delivery of medicines in Afghanistan

3 July 2010 | Kabul, Afghanistan -- The World Health Organization is currently conducting a large delivery of medicines and health supplies to Afghanistan, sending 430 tonnes of life-saving materials - enough for 1 million people - to health providers throughout the country.

The Ministry of Public Health and its implementing NGO health partners are recipients of the health supplies, which are being provided to prepare the health sector to quickly respond to the impacts of conflict, hazardous natural events and other ongoing and potential humanitarian crises.

"It's about empowering local communities, civil society and the government so they can ensure emergency health care for more Afghans and reduce loss of life and suffering associated with recurrent crises," said Peter Graaff, WHO Representative to Afghanistan. "Countries and communities are the first responders to crises, and they, in turn, need the resources to respond immediately to risks in their communities."

The medical supplies are sufficient to cover the immediate health needs of 1 million people. These include treating at least 1000 major (and a larger number of minor) casualties; 170,000 cases of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases endemic to the Afghan winter; and 40,000 cases of life-threatening diarrheal diseases. In addition, WHO has procured equipment needed for four complete Intensive Care Units, which will be established in existing hospitals to prepare remote, underserved communities.

"This can be seen as a success story of the UN 'cluster approach' - one that closely coordinates efforts, advocates together and jointly ensures that resources are in place to respond to health crises," said Luiza Galer, Health Cluster Coordinator.

WHO leads the efforts of the Health Cluster network of UN agencies, civil society organizations and government partners to ensuring more Afghans receive emergency health care and that the country's health system is better prepared for emergencies.

For more information, please contact:

Aanchal Khurana
Communications Officer
World Health Organization
+93 (0) 79 533 9211