Danish People’s Aid is upgrading COVID-19 efforts in Afghanistan

For the first time in several years, Danish People’s Aid activated their disaster preparedness in Afghanistan when the corona pandemic broke out. Now the humanitarian organization can upgrade its efforts with an additional grant of 4 million DKK from Danida, the Augustinus Foundation and their own disaster fund. The help includes training local health teams and distribution of hygiene kits and focuses on citizens who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

At the start of the corona crisis, Danish People’s Aid activated their international disaster fund and emergency preparedness for the first time in connection with Afghanistan. With a total grant of 4 million DKK, they are now able to upgrade their efforts. The Afghan authorities estimate that 80% of the population is at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. That equates to 25 million people, which the health care system in Afghanistan in no way has the resources to deal with. At the same time, a large part of the population lives as internally displaced persons, which makes them extra vulnerable to the virus.

Targeted efforts to stop the spread

The Afghan health care system is so depleted of resources that it is almost non-functional in large parts of the country. Danish People’s Aid, which is present in, among other places, the Faryab province, collaborates with local authorities, the local community and the local partner organizations to implement the aid, which can prevent infection and ensure the population real protective equipment.

Klaus Nørlem, Secretary General, says:

“We cannot just watch and fail to act when such a violent number of human lives are feared to be infected with COVID-19 and an expected high number of deaths. Our efforts in Afghanistan consist of setting up local health teams to prevent the spread of infection through information initiatives for local people on how to act to avoid infection in accordance with the WHO recommendations on COVID-19. At the same time, information material and hygiene kits are distributed to the most vulnerable families, which contain protective equipment such as masks, soap and other necessary personal hygiene products. Finally, we now have the opportunity to follow up with support to be able to maintain life at a minimum through the distribution of basic necessities of life, as many people have completely or partially lost their income”

Post-crisis help is also part of the plan

Although the major challenge at present is that the health sector does not have the necessary resources to combat the spread of infection, for many families there are a number of other consequences of the pandemic. Many families have lost or are about to lose their income and thus also access to basic necessities of life. Therefore, the distribution of basic necessities is also part of the Danish People’s Aid’s disaster response.

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