Access to care in Afghanistan after august 2021: A cross-sectional study exploring Afghans' perspectives in 10 provinces

Document Type



Emergency Medicine


Background: The Taliban takeover in August 2021 ended a decades-long conflict in Afghanistan. Yet, along with improved security, there have been collateral changes, such as the exacerbation of the economic crisis and brain drain. Although these changes have altered the lives of Afghans in many ways, it is unclear whether they have affected access to care. This study aimed to analyse Afghans' access to care and how this access has changed after August 2021.
Methods: The study relied on the collaboration with the non-governmental organisation EMERGENCY, running a network of three hospitals and 41 First Aid Posts in 10 Afghan provinces. A 67-item questionnaire about access to care changes after August 2021 was developed and disseminated at EMERGENCY facilities. Ordinal logistic regression was used to evaluate whether access to care changes were associated with participants' characteristics.
Results: In total, 1807 valid responses were returned. Most respondents (54.34%) reported improved security when visiting healthcare facilities, while the ability to reach facilities has remained stable for the majority of them (50.28%). Care is less affordable for the majority of respondents (45.82%). Female respondents, those who are unmarried and not engaged, and patients in the Panjshir province were less likely to perceive improvements in access to care.
Conclusions: Findings outline which dimensions of access to care need resource allocation. The inability to pay for care is the most relevant barrier to access care after August 2021 and must therefore be prioritised. Women and people from the Panjshir province may require ad hoc interventions to improve their access to care.


Pagination is not provided by author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Conflict and Health