UNICEF: 16% surge in acute respiratory infections in Afghanistan in January

Khaama Press

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that in January of this year, 160,000 cases of acute respiratory infections have been reported in Afghanistan.

UNICEF shared a report on its website on Monday, revealing a 16% rise compared to last year for the reported cases.

UNICEF states that severe cold and air pollution are cited as the causes of this illness, adding that children under the age of five constitute 62% of all cases of this disease.

According to the report, the winter temperature in most parts of Afghanistan drops below zero, leading to respiratory illnesses in children.

UNICEF said it has been supporting health centers in Afghanistan to cope with the increase in acute respiratory infections, with the support of the World Bank, providing health supplies and heating materials to health facilities.

The organization added that, in collaboration with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, it covers the costs of operating 2,400 health centers and the salaries of about 27,000 health workers.

UNICEF claims that its support for health workers and facilities in Afghanistan last year provided health and nutrition services to approximately 20 million children and their families.

UNICEF, citing health experts, said that besides poor weather conditions, other factors contributing to the increase in respiratory infections include poverty, air pollution, inadequate respiratory hygiene, and crowded living conditions.

UNICEF: 16% surge in acute respiratory infections in Afghanistan in January