Global Fund to Provide Emergency Services to 1.3 Million Afghan Returnees

February 25, 2024
Photo: UNDP Afghanistan

GENEVA/KABUL – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) has approved over US$4.7 million in emergency funding to deliver HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria services to the 1.3 million Afghans who have been living in Pakistan who must now return to their country in the coming year.  

The US$4.7 million in emergency funds will be added to a US$66 million grant that started on 1 January 2024 for a period of three years. The grant is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“The anticipated 1.3 million people represent over 3% of Afghanistan’s population,” said Annelise Hirschmann, Head of the Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean Department at the Global Fund. “This steep increase in population, especially in the rural and hard-to-reach areas bordering Pakistan, represents an epidemiological risk and cannot be accommodated without reinforcing essential HIV, TB and malaria services.”

The emergency funds will be used as follows:

  • Malaria: Diagnostics, provision of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) for people who settle in areas where malaria prevalence is high, and refresher training sessions for people living in low-risk provinces to avoid the spread of malaria from people arriving from high-risk areas in Pakistan.
  • TB: Establishment of point-of-care facilities at the border with testing equipment, expansion of active case finding, integrated sample transportation, prevention, and treatment.
  • HIV: Voluntary testing at the border entry points, counseling, and continued treatment for displaced people.

“We already have systems in place to address the immediate needs of the returnees who are at increased risk of HIV, TB and malaria,” said Stephen Rodriques, Resident Representative of UNDP Afghanistan. “With this emergency funding from the Global Fund, we can help further minimize health risks to the returnees, who are already in a precarious situation. We welcome this decision and look forward to a continued partnership with the Global Fund.”

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