Ghor clinics closed due to staff shortage
CHAGHCHARAN (PAN): Health clinics in remote areas of western Ghor province have been closed due to a shortage of staff, resulting in the deaths of several women and children, officials and residents said on Thursday.
Locals said five clinics had been closed for the last two months in Dolina, Saghar, Pasaband and Lal-i-Sarjungle districts. They warned more children and women could die if the clinics remained shut.
Mohammad Nasim, 35, a resident of Sia Chob area of Dolina district, lost a 6-year-old child two weeks ago because the health centres were closed. The district is 110km away from Chaghcharan, the provincial capital.
"When my child fell ill, I did not know where to take him for treatment. His condition deteriorated and he died two days later," the man said, claiming three children of another family in the area also died recently.
Most patients are taken to the main district hospital, located 40km from the Sia Chob village. Residents are currently unable to visit the hospital because the route has been blocked by snow.
Khudadad, from the Jorja area of Saghar district, also complained about the clinics' closure, saying his 28-year-old pregnant wife died a month ago. "Now I have to take care of three daughters and two sons. I don't know what to do."
He said Jorja residents cover a distance of 50km to reach the district centre. In the absence of public transport, people find it hard to take their patients to the district clinic.
The mountainous district is located 200km from the provincial capital. Residents complained they had shared the problem with health officials several times and nothing had been done so far.
Public Health Director Dr. Ghulam Nabi Yagana confirmed the lack of medical staff. "Ghor is a mountainous province. We announce vacancies but no one has applied to work in the area. And those who are recruited quit their jobs after a short time."
With medicine and equipment available at the health department, the clinics would remain closed as long as the staff shortage persisted, the director said.
There are 56 health centres in the remote province near the Pakistan border. The number of clinics needed to be increased, Yagana said.
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