Rebel-linked violence shuts Uruzgan health facilities
TIRINKOT (Pajhwok): Several health facilities and clinics remain closed due to the poor law and order situation,causing the residents of central Uruzgan province tremendous hardships, locals and government officials say.
Several other health facilities are closed due to insecure working conditions for medics, according to provincial officials, who said the Taliban were in control of several areas where security has worsens. Health staff confirmed leaving the tense localities.
Almost all health clinics have been shut, with several patients losing their lives as a result of the closure in Deh Raud, Sarab and Char Chino districts in the last two weeks, residents complained.
One area resident Niamatullah told Pajhwok Afghan News his house lately came under mortar attack, which injured his wife and daughter. The36 year old had to evacuate his daughter and spouse to Tirinkot, the provincial capital, as all health clinics have been shut in Deh Ruud district for the last 15 days.
Abdul Raziq Alizada, another resident, grumbled: “Fighting between security forces and militants are ongoing. A number of people have sustained injuries. Many others are suffering from a variety of ailments but there are no hospitals where they could go for treatment.”
The injured could not go to other areas due to continuous clashes in the area. “People carry their wounded relatives in handcarts here and there for medical treatment but in vain,” Alizada painted a sorry picture of the situation, asking the authorities to take immediate steps to reopen the facilities and restore normality before more patients died.
Health facilities also remain closed in Char chino district. Mohammad Ghaus, a resident, said: “Almost all clinics have been shut by the fighting, prompting health workers to abandon their duty stations and leaving the injured and patients in the area unattended.”
Intense battles and landmines planted on roads are other hurdles to the transfer of patients and wounded individuals to other areas. The militants have reportedly warned health workers against treating anyone.
Samiullah, who hails from Sarab district, confirmed the closure of health facilities there. He said officials had closed health facilities in the area,causingimmense problems for the people.
Mohammad Zaher Naderi, a provincial council member from Deh Raud, also verified the closure of the health clinics in the town. People have to overcome many hindrances,as the closure of the medical facilitieshave left patients dead in some cases.
“I plan to meet the governor and health officials to find a solution and ensure the immediate reopening of health facilities in the district,” he added, without explaining when the meeting would take place.
Abdullah Haqbayan, the provincial council chairman, has received a string of complaints from residents of several districts regarding the closure of hospitals. He promised efforts to ensure the provision of health services as soon as possible.
Haqbayan has initiated negotiations with the officials concerned on finding waysof reopening the health facilities.
Dr. Khan Agha Miankhail, director of public health in Uruzgan, confirmed Pajhwok some health facilities remained closed due to fighting and insecurity. The closure was aimed to protect the lives of medical staff in restive areas.
Most of health workers in Uruzgan are not regular government employees and have no affiliation with any group, but they often encounter the horrible effects of insecurity. Many have been kidnapped and othersthreatened with dire repercussions.
As a consequence of the insurgent threats, several health facilities have been closed and staff transferred to secure areas to provide services there, Miankhail explained.
He acknowledged people’s suffering due to the worsening security situation, saying they had no option but to send workers to secure areas to protect their lives..
Dost Mohammad Nayab, spokesman for the acting governor, accused the Taliban of warning doctors and medics to stop providing health facilities to the people. In the wake of the threats, health facilities have been shut.
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