After more than 40 years of protracted conflict, Afghanistan remains one of the most complex humanitarian crises, characterized by chronic and emergency needs: 9% of the population lives below the poverty line. In 2020, 10 million people have limited or no access to primary health care and 5,5 million are severely food insecure1.
Conflict, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic have further weakened the health system. This has led to continued insecurity and the displacement of more than 824,000 people in Afghanistan and neighboring countries in 2020. 100% of these displaced people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The COVID-19 crisis has had devastating impacts on the population, with over 48,000 confirmed cases and 1,900 officially reported deaths. There are also 8,820 civilian casualties from internal conflicts due to the intensification of violence between armed groups in 2020, almost half of which are women and children. The Peace Talks held in Doha in February 2020, the announcement of US troop’s withdrawal and the continuous pressure from various Organized Armed Groups make the situation for the civilian population very hostile and dynamic. The humanitarian and health situation is extremely worrying and the need for psychological support has increased considerably.
Description of the mission
Première Urgence Internationale‘s historic mission has been ongoing in Afghanistan since 1979, and is now primarily focused on the Eastern regions bordering Pakistan, which are affected by a high rate of population displacement. Première Urgence Internationale intervenes in the provinces of Kabul, Kunar, Nangarhar, Laghman and Nuristan to respond to emergencies and contribute to the improvement of the health system.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale‘s intervention includes access to primary healthcare through the reinforcement of existing health facilities (from the First Aid Trauma post rehabilitation to Sub-Health Centres or the provincial hospital support), as well as the deployment of mobile clinics in order to respond to the vital needs of the population in remote or hard to reach areas. The teams also provide psychological support to the population and participate in the care of war wounded.
At the heart of Première Urgence Internationale‘s humanitarian response in Afghanistan, the team provides emergency assistance to communities in various fields such as health, nutrition, Mental Health and Psycho-social Support (MHPSS), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and also develops actions to improve the resilience of communities in collaboration and coordination with other humanitarian partners. The integrated approach is an innovative operational approach developed and implemented by Première Urgence Internationale. This method aims to adress the best and most sustainable way possible all the needs of people affected by a crisis. For instance, Première Urgence Internationale aims at integrating psycho-social support to maternal and neonatal care for vulnerable mother and their babies to better cope with under nutrition risk. It allows to take into account all the dimensions of a problem, in order to propose a combination of efficient and effective solutions that will have a strong and lasting impact for the populations.
COVID-19 : In Afghanistan, Première Urgence Internationale is working hard for public health
In the East of Afghanistan, Première Urgence Internationale has been taking action for four decades to respond the emergency health needs and contribute to the improvement of public services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NGO is implementing several activities and adapting its usual programs. Dedicated resources and special extra supply have been delivered, through a humanitarian air bridge connecting Europe and Afghanistan.
Roya Heydari : “I want to show life in Afghanistan as it happens”
Roya Heydari is a 27-year-old Afghan photographer. Late December, she worked in the field with Première Urgence Internationale and spent two weeks in the Eastern regions, from Nangarhar to Nuristan. She documented the NGO’s activities through a selection of powerful pictures.