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Trop Med Health ; 49(1): 77, 2021 Sep 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438308


Food security is a major element for the sustainability, stability and development of a country. However, despite fundamental efforts in fighting poverty, Afghanistan continues to struggle with food insecurity with a large proportion of its population living below the poverty line. With extreme climates, protracted conflict, and now COVID-19, food insecurity has become rampant and is on the rise in the country. Efforts have been reinforced to mitigate this issue, but a spate of obstacles which seems not to come to an end, has contributed to the deterioration of the situation. With the collaboration and efforts of international organizations, there remains a glimmer of hope to potentially reduce the gravity of the food insecurity in the country. This paper aims to highlight the efforts of Afghanistan in alleviating food insecurity with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 on this issue. It also presents recommendations that may help ameliorate the country's food security status during and after the pandemic.

Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 105(5): 1137-1140, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1380037


A country's preparedness for a prompt and successful implementation of vaccination programs plays a pivotal role in disease control and prevention. As it stands now, Afghanistan seems to be ill-prepared to embrace a successful implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program because of a spate of challenges. These include, but are not limited to, the insufficient number of vaccinators, a dearth of fully integrated functioning cold chain, challenging geographical barriers, cultural issues, insecurity, and protracted conflict. The COVID-19 infodemic along with vaccine mistrust in the country will lead to a pervasive public vaccine hesitancy in Afghanistan, which will present serious obstacles to the COVID-19 immunization efforts. The politicization of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the complaints of embezzlement and misuse of the pandemic aid have already eroded public trust during the pandemic. To ensure a large-scale and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the cold chain infrastructure should be strengthened, and the immunization personnel trained. Antivaccination propaganda and misinformation should be tackled with effective communication approaches and effective community engagement, which consider culturally relevant messages appropriate to the culture and people. The allegations of corruption should be addressed to revive public trust in public health interventions, including COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Programs , Public Health/methods , Afghanistan/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , Communication , Female , Geography , Humans , Immunization Programs/methods , Immunization Programs/standards , Public Health/economics , Public Health/standards , Trust , Vaccination