The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has announced that it is handing over the financial responsibility of dozens of hospitals and the payroll of thousands of medical workers to the Taliban authorities.
In a news release on Monday, ICRC stated that the plan is set to be completed by August 31, 2023, at which point the Taliban authorities would assume financial responsibility for 33 hospitals across the country maintained by the Committee.
This also means that the Taliban will be responsible for paying the salaries of 10,900 domestic doctors, nurses, and staff at these hospitals, and providing drugs and other medical supplies and food for millions of patients countrywide.
ICRC indicated that it took over the hospitals “as an emergency stopgap measure intended to prevent the country’s healthcare system from collapse” when the Taliban overtook power in August 2021.
“The ICRC’s goal was to temporarily maintain the country’s secondary health to enable the authorities to organize themselves to assume responsibility for the health-care system.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross explained that the scheme to hand over the financial responsibility to the Taliban was “planned with transparency, and the health authorities have shown their willingness and determination to assume control and meet people’s healthcare needs.”
ICRC reiterated its commitment to continue its engagement in Afghanistan helping millions of in-need people in the coming months and years.
“We plan to continue supporting for the foreseeable future 47 Afghanistan Red Crescent Society primary health-care centers, which have a nutrition program.” Part of the release reads.
“We will also work with the [Taliban] authorities to improve health care in places of detention, including direct support for the clinics in Kandahar Sarposa Prison and Herat Provincial Prison. We will also maintain our support for seven physical rehabilitation centers, which treat over 150,000 people with physical disabilities each year.”
The ICRC has called on the international community and development agencies “to increase their support to Afghanistan and its vital public infrastructure” because humanitarian aid is required for more than 30 million people to meet their basic needs.