Afghans Rally to Defeat a Common Enemy: COVID-19
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Despite a history of many obstacles and a difficult path filled with internal conflict, setbacks, and challenges, many Afghans have rallied together in a local partnership to fight a global common enemy: COVID-19.
The World Health Organization ranks Afghanistan’s medical system among the lowest performing in the world. As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the country, there is a growing likelihood that the pandemic will have a devastating impact to Afghanistan’s already fragile medical system. This challenge is compounded by the large numbers of Afghans who are fleeing the crisis in Iran and returning home, causing the Ministry of Public Health to halt the spread at the border by enforcing a lockdown of the Herat province.
Iran is listed as having one of the highest COVID-19 rates. To add to the complexity, intermittent border closures have made it difficult to get supplies into Afghanistan. Movement throughout the country is further restricted due to the ongoing conflict between the Taliban and Afghan Defense Forces supported by U.S. troops.
The Afghan Government is contributing what limited resources it has to the COVID-19 response despite a shortage of food and medical supplies amid a Taliban insurgency. With the Health Ministry estimating up to 40% of the countries 32 million population will contract the virus, leaders throughout Afghanistan’s civil society and business community have taken matters into their own hands, contributing personal resources to help stop the virus from spreading. From the distribution of masks and sanitizers, providing medical care, delivering food, and waving rent, Afghans are putting aside ethnic and political differences to defeat one of the world’s greatest enemies today: COVID-19.
The world faces unprecedented challenges as communities across the globe struggle to fight this rapidly evolving pandemic. Aggressive action and international support is an essential component to combating the deadly virus as cases soar on what is already a depleted healthcare system.