New US funding supports reproductive health and protection services in Afghanistan

26 Sep 2022

(Bamyan) Sadbarg Village Family Health House. © UNFPA Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, New York – The United States announced a new contribution of $50 million to UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, to support its life-saving work in Afghanistan. The funding will enable UNFPA to scale up its activities across the country to respond to the reproductive health and protection needs of millions of Afghan women, girls and young people. 

In Afghanistan, women and girls are facing unprecedented challenges. The country remains in a deep economic and humanitarian crisis, with 24.4 million people in dire need of assistance. Access to basic health services is severely restricted, particularly in remote parts of the country.  Even before the current crisis, a woman died every two hours during pregnancy and childbirth from complications that are largely preventable when access to skilled medical care is available.

The new financial contribution from the United States will support greater humanitarian assistance for Afghan women and girls, helping to increase access to timely protection and reproductive health services such as emergency obstetric care. Midwifery training will also be reinforced to support the critical duties of more midwives.

"Afghan women and girls continue to face urgent needs, and the world must stand with them,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director. “With this new commitment from the United States, UNFPA will be able to scale up its activities to safeguard the health and dignity of women and girls.”

The United States' contribution will help maintain and expand the 218 UNFPA-supported family health houses across the country, support more psychosocial counseling centres for women and girls, and enable a greater number of mobile health teams to be deployed to the least accessible parts of the country to reach people with reproductive health and psychosocial support.

In the past 12 months, UNFPA has reached more than 4.3 million people with life-saving services. With winter approaching, timely and flexible funding will be critical for UNFPA to ensure the continuity of essential health services. In 2022, UNFPA is appealing for $251.9 million in funding: To date, only 32 percent of the appeal has been funded.

"This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries through international humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations Population Fund,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “This funding will provide protection, life-saving reproductive and maternal health, and gender-based violence prevention and response services."

The new contribution of $50 million is the largest ever single co-financing contribution from the United States to UNFPA and comes in addition to their $50.5 million core funding in 2022, as well as co-financing contributions. In 2021, the United States was UNFPA’s top humanitarian donor and a critical advocate for the rights of women and girls around the world.

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