Afghanistan may be one of the countries hit hardest by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak than any other South Asian country. Very few within the country have the luxury to self-quarantine. Forced to ignore lockdown regulations and guidelines due to the daily wages much of the population relies on to survive, therefore increasing the risk of spreading the infection. Decades of war with the Taliban, a militant insurgency group waging war within the country has destroyed the already fractured healthcare system. The pandemic comes at the worst possible time – where the United States has cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan. Fears that the aid cut will throw gasoline on the fire and make it difficult for the country to control the outbreak. Surprisingly, positive coronavirus cases are low in contrast to western and eastern neighbors; Iran and Pakistan, albeit due to a limited testing capability of the Afghan Government and issues with collecting the figures. As positive infected cases steadily increase across the country healthcare professionals begin to bear the burden of the responsibility of trying to keep everyone alive while simultaneously avoiding infecting themselves and their families. Afghan doctors and nurses although ill-equipped with virtually no reliable source of sustainable funding for their hospitals and or clinics are fighting on the frontlines struggling to contain the virus with hopes of preventing it from becoming a highly deadly outbreak within the country. Afghanistan does not have the financial strength that western countries may fall back on to fight the outbreak and provide necessary bailouts or stimulus checks to citizens. At least three doctors in the capital city of Kabul have died as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rip through their ranks since its arrival date in February, officials confirmed.
The silver lining of the pandemic is it has promoted entrepreneurs to step up and inspire a culture of philanthropy and volunteerism to support those battling against the novel coronavirus virus.
Allow me to express my appreciation and gratitude to the heroism of the doctors and nurses putting their lives at risk to save others. It’s my pleasure to lead an initiative in collaboration with the Zamani Foundation to donate vital protective equipment for health care workers pic.twitter.com/B1VUbTgh1o
— Sultan Ghani (@SultanGhani_) May 1, 2020
An initiative championed as First Responders First is a collaboration between Sultan Ghani and Mustafa Zamani through non-profit organization, aiming to generate positive change all over the world by empowering communities to reach their goals. Through passion, kindness, and educational opportunities, the Zamani Foundation gives hope and inspires the leaders of tomorrow. The First Responders First initiative is aimed at protecting physicians and nurses, who have no choice but to get close to patients and treat those who are infected with COVID-19, sometimes without masks, gowns, and gloves they require to protect them from contracting the virus. The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a cause of concern for frontline medics. Physicians have been purchasing their own equipment, relying on donations, or with the “do it yourself” protection gear. This initiative has been praised for gifting thousands of vital PPE; surgical masks, disposable gloves, eyes shield visors, hand sanitizers, and soaps to public hospitals and clinics for healthcare professionals to ensure their best outfitted to protect themselves and others while they grip with the crisis.
Meet the Entrepreneurs giving back:
Sultan Ghani is the President of the Ghani Group, established in 1927 under the brand name Ahmadzai Transport Company, now a privately held family owned company conglomerate specializing in support services for private and public sector working in Afghanistan and aboard. The company provides a wide scope of works and services that ranges from defense, transportation, construction, base operations, security and assessment services.
“Afghan generosity, hospitality, and kindness is a deeply rooted-integral part of our culture and tradition. What you do matters but who you help matters most of all.”- Mr. Ghani
Mustafa Zamani founded DGC International as an IT services company to help clients harness the power of innovation to drive change. Mr. Zamani used his visionary and entrepreneurial leadership to shape and refine the organization’s identity as a Global Defense company that provides Logistics, Operations, Training, and Mission Support.
Giving back and helping others is his personal passion. Mr. Zamani plays a hands-on role in the philanthropic activities of the Zamani Foundation, an institution devoted to engagement, education, employment, and empowerment of youth all over the world.
The world war against the virus the coronavirus will be lost if not properly fought right away. Afghanistan cannot afford to lose doctors to COVID-19. Charitable campaigns like these are imperative to prevent infections to save lives. It remains more important than ever before that doctors and nurses receive appreciation and financial support while they endure the stress of fighting the pandemic, especially in a suspectable hotspots like Afghanistan. In spite of all the dangers, Afghan doctors remain optimistic. Having experienced multiple wars, they believe the country is more prepared than previous crises in spite of all the obstacles. Witnessing the wave of compassion magnifying through charitable donations, volunteerism, and initiatives that provide assistance while they struggle with the outbreak. Although the nation is economically disadvantaged, they’re rich at heart and have hopes that they’ll be able to make it through this hardship as they have many times before.