Numbers of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) indicated that at least 323 malnourished children have died since the beginning of 2022 across Afghanistan.
Jawid Hazhir, spokesman of the Ministry of Public Health, said that nearly 200,000 children have been affected by malnutrition in the past year.
“Since the beginning of the new year (2022), 59,883 severe malnutrition cases were registered, 137,096 children had moderate malnutrition, and 323 have died,” said Hazhir.
Health officials and doctors stated that unemployment and poverty are the main reasons for the surge of malnourished children in Afghanistan.
Suhrab, 2, is suffering from malnutrition. Suhrab’s mother said her husband is unemployed and they cannot afford enough food for their children. “We do not have the financial capability to treat him. He has been suffering from malnutrition for more than two years,” said Suhrab’s mother.
Meanwhile, officials at the Indira Gandhi (Sehat-e-Tefl) hospital said that around 60 malnourished children are brought into the hospital per month for treatment.
“Many of our patients are suffering from severe malnutrition. In additional to malnutrition, they suffer from other illnesses too,” said Dr. Mohammad Aref Hassanzai, a doctor at the hospital.
Based on the findings of the Ministry of Health, more than 2,600,000 children were registered in the last three years in Afghanistan who were suffering from malnutrition.
Meanwhile, the death rate of children affected with malnutrition, and level of children patients being brought to hospitals, has surged as the health sector faces severe shortages of medical supplies, officials said.
Officials at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital said that the number of malnourished children has recently jumped by 50 percent.
“The number of patients has increased recently. Our work is being affected as the number of patients is overwhelming, and the death rate among the children has also increased. If it there is no solution found for the problem, we will face a complete shortage of equipment,” said Farid Ahmad Andishmand, a doctor.
The head of Indira Gandhi Children Hospital, Mohammad Latif Bahir, expressed concern over the suspension of aid to the health sector.
“The number of our patients has increased compared to previous weeks. We are facing an overwhelming number of patients and we can only check on emergency patients and deny other patients,” he said.