‘It's Urgent’: Afghanistan’s Health Care Collapse

As winter bears down on Afghanistan, trees are cut down in hospital courtyards to heat patient rooms. Patients must bring their own bedding and food, and medical workers—who aren’t being paid—struggle to make do with the paltry medical supplies.

The country’s health system, cut off from funding by sanctions and under inexperienced Taliban management, has already collapsed in some regions, says Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Spiegel recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan as part of a WHO team investigating the emergency.

“When winter comes in earnest, it will get much, much worse," Spiegel said. 

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