After more than 40 years of conflict, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises, characterised by both urgent and chronic needs. In 2021, the conflict intensified with violence that heavily affected the Afghan population. The IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) takeover on August 15th 2021 was a major turning point for the country, with increasing humanitarian challenges.
In 2022, 24.4 million people (nearly 59% of the population) will require humanitarian assistance, compared to 18.4 million in 2021. 22.8 of them million will be severely food insecure and 3.2 million children could suffer from acute malnutrition. The health system, already weakened by the conflict, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, has continued to deteriorate in 2021. One year after the IEA took power, the sustainability of the country’s public health system is therefore at stake.
Description of the mission
The Afghan mission is Première Urgence Internationale’s historic mission as it has been ongoing since 1979. Nowadays, the teams are mainly active in the eastern regions bordering Pakistan, which are affected by a high rate of population displacement. Première Urgence Internationale intervenes in the provinces of Ghazni, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Kunar, Logar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktya, Uruzgan, Wardak, and Zabul 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 care through the reinforcement of existing health facilities (rehabilitation of the first aid post, secondary health centres and support for the provincial hospital), as well as the deployment of mobile clinics to respond to the vital needs of populations in remote areas that are difficult to access. The teams also provide psychological support to the population.
At the core 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 psychosocial support, water, hygiene and sanitation, and also develops actions to improve community resilience in collaboration and coordination with other humanitarian partners.
Through its approach, Première Urgence Internationale seeks to take into account all the dimensions of the needs of people affected by the crisis, and to propose a combination of solutions that will have a lasting impact on them. PUI therefore integrates psychosocial support to maternal and neonatal care for vulnerable mothers and their babies in order to strengthen the mother-child bond and improve the nutritional status of newborns.
Faced with a humanitarian emergency, Première Urgence Internationale charters a plane full of medicines to Afghanistan
Nearly 100 tons of medicines and medical equipment have been sent by plane to Kabul mid-December in a country where there is a shortage of medicines and where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.
In Afghanistan, “the humanitarian community cannot be the only actor providing aid to the population”
More than half of Afghans need humanitarian aid in a country where the health system collapsed a year ago after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) came to power. A change in governance that has also changed the working conditions of NGOs on the ground. Interview with Justyna Bajer, head of mission of Première Urgence Internationale in Kabul.