“It’s terrible timing that this would happen, when right now we’re faced with a situation where humanitarian needs are escalating,” said Dr. Richard Brennan, the regional emergency director for the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region.
Cesarean sections, immunizations for polio, tuberculosis, tetanus and measles, diagnoses and treatment of TB, malaria, H.I.V., childhood nutrition, surgeries and routine health services, including family planning — all are at risk. The loss in aid is also constricting supply chains for medicines, oxygen and food for hospitals.
Roughly two-thirds of the country’s health facilities are part of Sehatmandi, a three-year, $600 million project administered by the World Bank and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the European Union, the World Bank and others.
Because funds were put in effect through the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health, the donors withdrew their support after the Taliban’s ouster of the previous administration.
Dr. Majrooh, who studied global health policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said he appreciated the precarious situation of donor organizations but argued that the health of the population should supersede political considerations.
Dr. Majrooh and humanitarian aid experts accused the funding organizations of abandoning Afghans when they most needed help.
“I’m so surprised that at the time where they are the most needed, and where they can have the highest impact ever — it is at that time they have decided to pull out,” said Karl Blanchet, an expert in humanitarian studies at the University of Geneva who has worked closely with the Afghan health ministry.