Aziz Khan health centre in Laghman Province is the workplace of midwife Saidda Wafa. Sida supports the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which trains midwives in the region.
Photo: Malin Hoelstad
Our humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan
For several decades, Afghanistan has been affected by protracted and complex crises, resulting in major humanitarian distress. Virtually all parts of society have been hit, and Afghanistan has a very low rank for almost all the key categories for development.
In Afghanistan, 9.3 million people are in need of acute humanitarian assistance. A large majority of these are women or children. Besides the effects of conflicts, the vulnerability of the affected population is accentuated by deficiencies in basic healthcare and other societal services. For every medical professional in Afghanistan, there are 10,000 patients. Due to women's lack of access to healthcare, this figure is a full 30,000 women per medical professional.
The protracted conflict has led to millions of Afghans fleeing their homes and now living as internally displaced persons or as refugees abroad. The intensified conflict forced a further half a million people into flight in 2016, more than ever before in a single year. At the same time, half a million Afghans have been forced to return from Pakistan due to deteriorated relations between the countries. A majority of them are in need of humanitarian assistance. In addition to all its own difficulties, Afghanistan also has more than 200,000 refugees from Waziristan in northern Pakistan.
Afghanistan is also affected by recurring natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides and extreme cold.
Conflict areas and inaccessible terrain mean that the humanitarian response does not reach all areas where needs exist. Humanitarian personnel have also been targeted by attacks on several occasions. The UN's Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) calculates that it will reach about 60 per cent of the people who are in need of humanitarian help.
Despite Afghanistan's progress in areas such as healthcare, education and maternal mortality, millions of people are living in a life-threatening state. According to a national survey in 2013, almost 1.2 million children under five years old are treated for acute malnutrition every year.
Sida's humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan
Sida's assistance in 2016 was mainly directed to contributions in the area of food security, water and sanitation, protection, health and coordination. Sweden has a long history of assistance to Afghanistan and continues to be one of the major donors. Sweden is one of the largest donors to the Common Humanitarian Fund Afghanistan, for which Sweden also serves on the advisory steering group.
Site focuses on the needs identified in the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan. This means that priority will be given to people affected by conflict and food insecurity, malnourished children and refugees. Although some progress has been made in the area of gender equality, it remains a major challenge. Sida will therefore work with contributions targeting women and other marginalised groups.