Doctors say more maternity hospitals are needed in Kabul
Mohammad Maroof Sami, head doctor at the Malalai Maternity Hospital, said that four years ago they had less than 70 births a day, but now they had more than 120.
“Most nights, there are so many patients that we are not free for a moment, and most nights we rotate three patients through one bed.”
The Malalai hospital has a total of 250 beds in their maternity and children’s wards.
The rise in births is the due to an improvement in health services, more awareness of healthcare centres, the population increase and a lack of spacing between pregnancies, he said.
According to Kabul municipality, three million people lived in Kabul during the Taliban regime, between 1996 and 2001, but now there were five million people.
Sami said that with the growing population, it was necessary for the Ministry of Public Health to build new maternity hospitals, and to open one already built on Airport street.
Dr. Shafiqa Brushna Babak, who works at the Rabia Balkh maternity hospital, said her hospital too suffered from a lack of beds and overcrowding.
Four years ago, between 24 to 50 patients were referred to the hospital every day, now they are seeing 120 pregnant women a day.
“We don’t have a rest room for our doctors, so all the doctors have to sit in one small room. And we often have several women sharing one bed.”
She said that doctors were also carrying out more birth-related operations and they often did not have the time to check on all their patients.
She said here were 100 beds in the labour ward, 50 beds in the maternity ward and 50 beds in the children’s ward.
Currently, there are 60 doctors and 60 midwifes at Rabia Balkhi, when they need triple that number to cope with the infux of patients, she said.
She urged authorities to build a new hospital that could meet their requirements.
Dr. Sadia Fayeq Ayoubi, head of the reproductive health department at the Ministry of Public Health, said they were aware of the problems and that necessary steps had been taken.
She said the new maternity hospital on Airport street built with a donation from the United Arab Emirates would be inaugurated soon.
And the ministry was also looking to build maternity hospitals in another four districts of Kabul province, although she would not say which ones.
The plan would cost $1 million, she said, adding that they were actively seeking funding from the international community and other donors.
As well as maternity hospitals such as Malalai and Rabia Balkhi, each government-run hospital in Kabul has its own maternity ward, such as in the Istiqlal and Khair Khana hospitals.
However, most pregnant women prefer to be treated at a specialised hospital. There are also 54 private maternity hospitals in Kabul, although unlike government hospitals, they all charge a fee.
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