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Increase In Violence Hindering Access To Health Care In Afghanistan, Red Cross Warns

“An increase in armed groups and the splintering of insurgent factions is cutting Afghans off from health care in ever greater numbers, the Red Cross has warned,”The Guardian reports. “Roadblocks, roadside bombs, the risk of being caught up in fighting and unprovoked attacks are all stopping civilians from getting to hospitals, and limiting travel of doctors and nurses to remote areas without clinics,” the newspaper writes. Gherardo Pontrandolfi, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, “also warned that Afghans struggles’ to get health care would probably increase as western troops begin to head home, taking with them the funding and attention that have contributed to improvements in everything from vaccination rates to the number of mothers surviving childbirth,” The Guardian notes (Graham-Harrison, 4/18). According to a press release from the International Committee of the Red Cross, “Afghanistan remains the ICRC’s biggest operation worldwide, with some 1,800 staff deployed over 17 locations across the country” (4/18). Pontrandolfi said, “The decline of the war economy brings also difficulties for ordinary Afghans, those who have been relying in international assistance, job opportunities that were provided by this war economy. … The risk and concern is that despite dwindling international attention, the needs of Afghan people will not disappear,” The Guardian adds (4/18).