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Mental health of 7 million children at risk after Turkey quakes



(Last Updated On: February 18, 2023)

The mental health and wellbeing of seven million children is at risk for years to come after last week’s devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, Save the Children has warned, adding that some are showing signs of acute distress including nightmares, aggression, or being withdrawn.

Around 23 million people have been impacted by the earthquakes, many of whom have witnessed their friends and family members die before their eyes. Others have been buried under the rubble of their collapsed homes. Many now still don’t have anywhere safe to go.

Children who have experienced extremely distressing events or repeated stress are more likely to have long-lasting impacts for months or even years to come unless more mental health and psychosocial support is urgently provided alongside humanitarian aid.

Aiida, a psychologist working for Save the Children, said: “In these cases, children are at risk of developing mental health difficulties, particularly as there were several events one after another, earthquakes with ongoing aftershocks, with no period for recovery.”

“In the long-term, this can impact many aspects of a child’s life, including difficulties with learning, concentration and school performance. A child who has experienced life-threatening events may remain primarily focused on feeling safe and function in survival mode – what we can also call a flight, fight or freeze response.”

After 12 years of conflict and economic crisis, the mental health needs in Syria were already significant before the earthquakes. According to UN data from December 2022, nearly half of all children surveyed were showing signs of psychological distress, and 26 per cent of households reported the reason their children did not want to go to school was because they felt depressed, unhappy or lacked motivation, Middle East Monitor reported.

The fact that the earthquakes and shockwaves took place when people were in their homes at night increased their sense of fear.

For young children, increased clinginess and anxiety upon separation is being observed, with children needing to sleep next to their caregivers at night and stay next to them during the day, the charity warned. “Overexposure to distressing news and images circulating through social media is also playing a role in children’s stress levels especially among teenagers.”


Two die of Congo fever in Balkh Central Hospital



(Last Updated On: May 28, 2023)

Two patients died of Congo fever in Abu Ali Sinai Balkhi Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif city, health officials said.

Reports of an outbreak of Congo fever have been recorded in a number of provinces in the north of the country.

Najibullah Tawana, head of public health of Balkh, announced the death of two people in the meeting of sectorial coordination to prevent and reduce diseases between humans and animals in the province.

“Last week, 10 cases of Congo disease were confirmed in Faryab and Jawzjan and [patients were] transferred to Abu Ali Sina Balkhi seminary hospital, but two of them have died,” said Tawana.
Meanwhile, Mawolavi Mohammad Nasim Abid, the deputy mayor of Mazar-e-Sharif, said that they monitor the cleanliness and compliance of butchers every day, and that animals are slaughtered in slaughterhouses built by this department.

According to him; standard facilities have been established for the slaughter of chickens to prevent the spread of various diseases.

Mawolavi Zabihullah Noorani, the head of Balkh culture and information, also asked the media to inform the people about the prevention of this disease and inform them about the harm of this deadly disease.

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WHO says it’s ready to support health system in Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: May 27, 2023)

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is ready to fully support the health system in Afghanistan and has encouraged fifty of its partners to help provide health services to the country.

“Global partnership plays a key role in helping the Afghan people in the health sector. Also, the World Health Organization is ready to lead the care of the needy in the health sector,” the statement said. 

“The World Health Organization has already encouraged more than 50 partners of this organization to provide health assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Health has said that WHO’s assistance is important in Afghanistan, but it is not so extensive that it can permanently remove the country’s health system problems.

Some experts meanwhile also said that while the health problems in the country have increased and people in remote areas and provinces do not have access to health services, it is the responsibility of the international community to direct the majority of humanitarian aid to health services. 

Earlier, WHO said that about 17.6 million people in Afghanistan need health services and more than $188 million dollars is needed to resolve the issue.

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IEA reports third polio case this year



(Last Updated On: May 25, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s public health ministry said on Thursday a case of polio has been reported in the Nazyan district of Nangarhar province, bringing the total number of cases so far this year to three. 

In a statement, the ministry said the latest polio patient is a 30-month-old boy.

The ministry also said all three cases were reported in Nangarhar. 

Children in eastern provinces, including Nangahar, have always been susceptible to the polio virus. 

According to the ministry, Nazyan district, where the latest case was recorded, was questionable in terms of sanitation. The statement noted the district has poor personal hygiene and sanitation conditions. 

The ministry pointed out that polio can only be eradicated through vaccinations. Polio eradication campaigns are continuously conducted across the country with the help of the World Health Organization. 

The ministry said that the full cooperation of the people, particularly community elders, was critical in terms of eradicating the virus and called on them to ensure all children get vaccinated during the campaigns. 

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