A survey among Afghan health workers showed that every 13th infected person in the country works in the health sector. The research, published by German NGO Johanniter International Assistance, also showed that women had less access to healthcare and COVID-19 tests.
The NGO and its partners reached out to medical professionals in eight Afghan provinces and found that the majority of the staff was misinformed.
“Many of the interviewees believe that COVID-19 leads to death and have therefore closed their practices or greatly reduced the operations of the facilities out of fear,” they found. Only half of the surveyed clinics had screening facilities.
Afghan women were also suffering as limited screening facilities mean that there were no separate waiting areas for women for treatment and diagnosis of COVID-19.
“We are very concerned that women in particular no longer go to the doctor or hospital for fear of infection,” the report said.
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The medical staff at the facilities are mainly men. As a result, general healthcare, prenatal and postnatal care and vaccinations have fallen sharply among women.
The report also said the all the medical professionals were under great stress, with 75% of them reporting sleeping disorders, loss of appetite and nightmares.
As cases grow, it is likely that even more frontline workers will be infected by Coronavirus.