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    Ghor residents lack access to health facilities

    CHAGHCHARAN (PAN): People of some districts in western Ghor province have no access to health services due to the lack of clinics, medicine and doctors.

    “My pregnant wife died of her delivery pains on the way to clinic. I was taking her by donkey,” a resident of Chaharsada district, Gul Mohammad, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    “The only clinic in the district is 50 kilometer from our village. And it is also hard to reach that clinic due to transportation problem,” he said.

    Another resident, Abdul Rashid, said there are no medicines or doctor in the district clinic, so people have to take their patients to the provincial capital for 3,000 afghanis as transportation costs.

    Similarly, the solo health clinic in another district, Saghar, has been closed over the past five months due to unavailability of doctors and medicine.

    “Due to bad road conditions, we lost two of our patients this year on the way to hospital in the provincial capital,” Mohammad Saleem, a resident of the district, said.

    While in Pasaband district, resident Jan Mohammad said they could not carry their patients to the provincial capital because Taliban fighters had planted roadside bombs along the dilapidated road.

    “People buy medicine for themselves in the district bazaar without doctor’s prescription,” he said, recalling his two family members, including a five-year-old child, died this year on the way to hospital.

    He said they had several times requested the government to resolve the problem, but no step had so far been taken in this regard.

    Abdul Rahim Razada, a provincial council member, said though the Ministry of Public Health had announced 80 percent of people in the country had access to health services, yet people in many districts had no access to health facilities.

    “We have repeatedly discussed the problem with the ministry, but it does not pay attention,” he complained.

    The public health department faces a lack of half, while there is no female doctor or nurse in the entire province, where 45 midwives are available, said Ghulam Nabi Yagana, the public health director.

    The Ministry of Public Health had awarded contracts to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for providing medicine to health clinics in the districts, but the NGOs did nothing in this regard, he said.

    Abdul Wakeel, a doctor with Afghanistan Centre for Training and Development (ACTD), a contractor, confirmed the lack of medicine in clinics, accusing the previous contractor of not providing enough medicine to clinics. He said they purchased medicine from neighboring Herat province to resolve the problem.

    “Most of the doctors are not ready to work in Ghor province. Recently we have hired two doctors, one for Shahrak and the second for Lal district,” he said.

    About lack of female doctors or nurses, he said they were trying to resolve the problem through hiring doctors from other parts of the country or from Tajikistan.

    The Ministry of Public Health spokesman, Sakhi Kargar, confirming the problems faced by residents of Ghor, said they had signed an agreement with Japan to build a 150-bed hospital in Chaghcharan.

    The ministry offered $2000 monthly salary to an expert doctor, if he or she was ready to work in remote areas of restive provinces, he said. “At least one or two female doctors and 45 midwives are working in Ghor,” he said.

    The acting public health minister had promised public representatives of the province in Wolesi Jirga that the ministry would closely monitor activities of NGOs to ensure better health facilities for people, Karkar said.

    maz/myn/ma