WHO chief, Taliban discuss Afghan health crisis

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Kabul: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that he met Taliban Health Minister Qalander Ebad for talks on the “dire” health and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Ghebreyesus revealed that the meeting took place in Geneva on Tuesday, Khaama Press reported.

Ebad is part of a Taliban delegation visiting Geneva for a week of talks with institutions and non-governmental agencies on humanitarian access and human rights, as Afghanistan’s new rulers expand their international engagement.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan last August, the country has plunged into financial chaos, with inflation and unemployment surging, while the halting of aid and US sanctions has triggered a humanitarian crisis in a country already devastated by decades of war.

Tedros had already met Ebad during his visit to Kabul in September 2021 in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

“Despite some improvements since then, the health situation in Afghanistan is still dire and the acute humanitarian crisis is continuing to put lives at risk,” Tedros said following his meeting with the Health Minister in Geneva.

He said they discussed health needs in the country, strengthening the system, emergency preparedness, and training the health workforce, in which women are central.

“The acute need in Afghanistan is to deliver diagnostics to detect the Covid-19 virus, and in particular Omicron, as the number of cases is on the rise,” Tedros said.– IANS

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