As Afghanistan’s leading mobile telecoms network provider, Afghan Wireless implements a robust corporate social responsibility policy, supporting a variety of Afghan causes. Read on to learn more about the organization’s Stop the Virus initiative implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 14, 2020, the Bayat Group launched the Stop the Virus Campaign
Established by Afghan Wireless founder Ehsan Bayat, the Bayat Group comprises several subsidiary companies leading a variety of different sectors, including media, telecommunications, industrial infrastructure, security, and logistics. The organization is uniquely placed to assist communities throughout Afghanistan, providing ongoing support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan
COVID-19 is a newly discovered infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Most individuals who contract the virus develop mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. In some, however, particularly the elderly and those with an underlying health condition such as diabetes, respiratory disease, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, COVID-19 can produce serious and even life-threatening symptoms.
COVID-19 spreads via droplets of saliva or nasal discharge from an infected person. To date, no single specific treatment or vaccine had been identified to counter COVID-19. However, there are numerous ongoing clinical trials, several of which have produced promising initial findings.
COVID-19 is genetically similar to a strain of coronavirus that affects bats, suggesting a ‘leap’ in transmission from bat to human, although some scientists theorize that there may have been an intermediate animal reservoir, such as the pangolin. Transmission of COVID-19 among human hosts is believed to have first occurred in the Hubei Province of China in December 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive global impact, with border closures and lockdowns significantly impacting major economies all over the world, leading to a decline in government revenues and exacerbating poverty. The World Bank estimates that the outbreak has contracted Afghanistan’s economy by up to 7.4 percent.
The Afghan government has implemented several measures designed to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include extending tax deadlines for individual and corporate taxpayers, preventing “price gouging” of emergency foodstuffs and consumables, and allocating emergency spending to meet regional challenges, protect Afghan citizens, and fight the spread of COVID-19.
The Bayat Group is committed to helping reduce transmission of COVID-19
One of the largest private companies in Afghanistan, the Bayat Group is the parent company of Afghan Wireless, the nation’s first wireless telecoms network provider and founder of Afghanistan’s wireless telecoms market. Other subsidiaries include Ariana Television and Radio, as well as the Bayat Foundation, the group’s charitable arm, which is responsible for the implementation of the Stop the Virus campaign.
Stop the Virus is an aggressive, national public initiative designed to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 by providing Afghan citizens with essential information on how to protect themselves from the virus.
The Bayat Group, Afghan Wireless, and Ariana Television and Radio initiated public information activities in districts across Kandahar and Kabul in early April, working in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. This multifaceted program was praised by Kabul’s mayor, H. E. Dawood Sultanzoy, as well as several other public officials.
Afghan Wireless has distributed disinfection information to millions of Afghans
Simple, easily implemented recommendations that have proven to have a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19 include:
- Frequent hand washing
- Avoiding close contact (i.e. maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other people and staying at home as much as possible)
- Wearing masks and face coverings in public
- Frequently disinfecting surfaces
- Practicing good sneeze and cough etiquette by using tissues or sneezing into the fold of the elbow
The Bayat Group has announced plans to extend its Stop the Virus campaign
In addition to its public disinfection initiatives, the organization will expand its input in terms of public health protection and education. As Afghanistan’s largest charitable foundation, the Bayat Foundation has completed more than 500 projects designed to improve access to quality health care for Afghans, including the construction of 14 Afghan hospitals that have provided lifesaving treatment to more than 3 million people.
As Dr. Ehsan Bayat explained, COVID-19 is the most serious health challenge Afghanistan has faced in decades. The Bayat Group is committed to doing all that it can to prevent the disease from infecting more Afghans. Working in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, the group has extended its Stop the Virus public health campaign throughout the country—another step in the Bayat Group’s journey toward helping Afghans to live stronger, happier, healthier lives.