The Afghanistan Central Blood Bank has been facing a serious shortage of blood for months due to the lack of donors, while the number of patients who depend on transfusions continue to increase in hospitals across the country, a health official said, as quoted by local media.
“Currently, we are facing a shortage of blood in the Central Blood Bank, as the number of blood donors decreased due to the month of Ramadan,” the director of the blood bank, Dr. Mohammad Nasir Sadiq said, referring to the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Apart from blood shortage, the country’s health system has been facing a significant increase in cases of thalassemia and hemophilia, two blood disorders, particularly among women and children, he remarked.
“Most of them are children and need fresh blood, but the Central Blood Bank does not have such a small and fresh packet of blood” to distribute to younger patients, Sadiq said.
Officials have urged citizens to donate blood, and the international community to restart financial assistance to modernize the equipment and facilities of Afghanistan’s failing health system.
The Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, after more than two decades of conflict, led to the suspension of international aid funds, further aggravating the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan.
The fundamentalists have been imposing increasing restrictions on women, including banning them from higher education, work, or going on long journeys without a male chaperone.
Since December last year, the Taliban have banned women from working in non-governmental organizations, something they had earlier permitted, which has further deteriorated the condition of a health system already at risk and dependent on international organizations and aid.
According to the UN, so far this year the agency has received less than five percent of the funding it requires, even though it is currently experiencing among the most acute humanitarian crises in the world.