The Taliban ban on female NGO staff is a severe blow to Afghanistan’s public health system as it is further deepening the country’s already critical public health crisis. The move, which was announced in November 2021, prohibits women from working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and has had a devastating impact on the country’s health sector.
Women play a vital role in the health sector in Afghanistan, particularly in areas where access to health care is limited or non-existent. With an estimated 70% of Afghan women unable to access health care as a result of gender barriers, female NGO staff provides essential services to these marginalized communities. They often work in remote areas, providing health care and education on public health issues, such as hygiene, family planning, and nutrition.
The Taliban ban has led to an immediate loss of critical services that female NGO staff provides, resulting in an increased risk of diseases and illnesses for women and children. As a result of this, many NGOs have been forced to scale down their operations or shut down completely, leaving thousands of women and children without access to essential health care services.
Moreover, the ban on female NGO staff has also led to a shortage of skilled and trained female health workers in Afghanistan. The country already has a significant shortage of health workers, with an estimated 2.2 healthcare professionals per 1,000 people, which is far below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 4.45 healthcare professionals per 1,000 people. With the Taliban’s ban on female NGO staff, there is a further shortage of trained health workers, depriving many people of basic health care services.
The repercussions of the Taliban ban on female NGO staff on Afghanistan’s public health system are already evident. The country has witnessed a significant increase in mortality rates among women and children due to the lack of access to health care services. Additionally, the country has also seen a surge in infectious diseases, such as Covid-19 and malaria, leaving thousands of people vulnerable to preventable illnesses.
The Taliban ban on female NGO staff has significantly deepened Afghanistan’s public health crisis. The ban has resulted in the loss of critical health care services for women and children, creating a shortage of skilled female health workers in the country. The implications of this ban are direct, with increased disease risks, higher mortality rates among women and children, and a more significant burden on the already struggling Afghan health care system.