The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is anticipated to halt financial support for 25 hospitals in Afghanistan by the end of August, reported Reuters.

This decision is driven by financial difficulties faced by the ICRC.

The organisation has cited budget reductions and its inability to maintain a fully functioning public healthcare sector as reasons for the move.

The phase-out of the Hospital Program, which covers salaries and operational costs, is expected to happen as budgets for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan decrease.

ICRC spokesperson for Afghanistan Diogo Alcantara told the news agency: “Although we continue to engage with government ministries, donors, and organisations to find alternative sustainable support mechanisms for the hospital sector, the phase-out of the Hospital Program is expected to happen tentatively at the end of August.”

This move raises concerns over the fragile healthcare system in Afghanistan and the potential impact on millions of people who rely on these hospitals.

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The ICRC had been supporting these hospitals since foreign forces left in 2021, stepping in to help fill the gap left by the withdrawal of other development agencies.

The situation is causing growing alarm over the cuts to aid in Afghanistan, where the UN humanitarian plan for 2023 is significantly underfunded, affecting the healthcare services and essential public services.