The last 18 months have reinforced the fact that we are a global community but that huge inequalities exist between and within our societies. Recent events in Afghanistan are extremely worrying. The UN Children’s Fund has reported that as many as 18 million people in the country are in need of aid. Reports of children and vulnerable adults suffering malnutrition and injury combined with shortages of essential medical supplies and equipment in a situation already exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are cause for grave concern.
As a medical Royal College, we support the WHO call to ensure continuity of health services across the country. We call for the safeguarding of the human rights and humanitarian needs of the population and in particular for the protection of women and children, those who are internally displaced and other vulnerable groups. We encourage all nations to do what they can to support those most in need by providing urgent asylum for those seeking safe refuge.
This situation is unravelling before our eyes. Swift action with care and compassion is required by governments and by individuals around the world to minimise the impact on the physical and mental health of those affected.