No doctors, medicine in remote Paktia towns
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Residents say there are no specialist doctors and medicine at health facilities in far flung areas of southeastern Paktia province.
At least 10 out of 14 Paktia districts are mountainous, where residents face with numerous problems in finding access to healthcare facilities.
Provincial Public Health Department officials say there are around 50 health clinics both basic and major, with some having basic facilities and others lacking them. In addition, there are 10 mobile health teams which provide healthcare services to people on regular basis.
Haji Qadar Gul, a resident of the Aryub district, told Pajhwok Afghan News residents in remote areas lacked accesses to health services. “Residents sometimes face with security problems when they carry patients to Para Chinar area in Kuram Agency of Pakistan.”
Pacha Gul, a resident of Shwak district, also complained about the shortage of health facilities in the town and said:”The ramshackle roads delay shifting patients to Gardez while there is a shortage of doctors and medicines in the district.”
The residents also complained about mother and child mortality rates. Jumadin, a resident of Jani Khel district, said Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) trained to support pregnancies in remote areas did not perform their duty but receive salaries.
Public Health Director Dr Gul Mohammad Mangal told Pajhwok Afghan News several steps had been taken to improve healthcare services in the province.
There was only one hospital in the province 10 years ago, but today 49 hospitals and clinics as well as 10 mobile teams provided healthcare services to the people, he said.
He said health facilities had been made available in all accessible areas and that around 650 health workers, including male and female doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, worked in the field.
Mangal also confirmed mother and child mortality rates had been high in the past, but the deaths had been markedly reduced.
He said a plan had been devised to ensure that TBAs performed their duty, adding TBAs, who did not go to the job, had been denied course completion certificates.
The public health director acknowledged Paktia faced the shortage of health workers, but said he would not give up efforts to solve the issue.
He said specialist doctors demanded high salaries to work in remote areas and it was one of the main reasons behind the lack of doctors. “The shortage of medicines is throughout the country not only in Paktia,” he replied when asked about the deficiency of medicines.
Dr Allahmir, a member of the provincial council’s health committee, said they had held meetings with the officials concerned to address the issues of lack of professional doctors and medicines in the province on a priority basis.
Abdul Wali Sahi, the deputy governor, said though many problems remained, yet health related issues had decreased in the province compared to the past. He said construction work on a new 100-bed hospital would be completed soon in Gardez.
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