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Increased fighting takes toll on healthcare in Afghanistan

Jul 05, 2013

According to health NGO Emergency, war-related admissions to their health facilities are up 42 percent in the first four months of 2013 against the same period last year.

Kabul: It is close to midday and a group of patients wait outside the Mirwais regional hospital in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar city.

“There are no health clinics in our district so I have to come this long way for treatment. I have not met the doctor yet and have been waiting to see him for a long time,” one man, who had been waiting since sunrise and had driven four hours from neighbouring Helmand Province, told IRIN.

According to health NGO Emergency, war-related admissions to their health facilities are up 42 percent in the first four months of 2013 on the same period last year, with the situation particularly bad in Helmand, which saw an increase of nearly 80 percent.

The figures correspond with accounts of increased violence from both the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

According to ANSO, the number of attacks by the armed opposition increased by 47 percent from January to March of this year, marking a return to the levels of violence seen in 2011, the highest on record.

UNAMA figures show a 13 percent increase in civilian casualties in the second half of 2012 compared to the same period in the previous year. The increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) is a key cause of civilian injuries.

The violence is leading not just to a greater demand on medical services but also a climate of insecurity for health staff.

Click here for more.

SOURCE: IRIN

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