6,000 Afghan patients monthly visit RMI in Peshawar alone
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Some more than 6,000 Afghan patients visit Rahman Medical Institute (RMI), one of the most expensive one in Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, every month, it is learnt.
Lacking health facilities and quality medicines in home country, many Afghans move to Pakistan for treatment.
Pajhwok Afghan News reporter visited RMI and talked to some Afghans there. They said more Afghans would lose faith in medical facilities inside home country if proper attention was not paid to their development.
Afghans from different provinces were seen visiting hospitals in Peshawar.
Mohammad Tariq, RMI in-charge, confirmed more than 6,000 Afghans monthly visited the hospital for treatment, with about 2,000 of them ending up hospitalised and the remaining discharged after treatment.
Ill-persons and their family members
Most of these Afghan patients and their relatives said Afghanistan lacked health facilities and quality medicines, leaving them with no option to reach RMI.
Mohammad Zahir, a kidney patient, said: “I underwent a lot of treatment in Jalalabad, Nangarhar’s capital, but there was no relief and finally it was decided I should come here for treatment.”
Abdul Malik, a resident of Logar province who brought her niece to the hospital, said though he was a poor man but had no option except taking her to RMI.
He visited multiple doctors in Kabul, but no one prescribed his niece proper medicine.
Security and legal stay documents, unavailability of residences and delays in appointment with doctors are some of the problems Afgan patients and their families have to facing whenever they arrive in Peshawar for treatment.
Hamid, a resident of Balkh province, said: “If you go out of RMI vicinity, police will capture you to snatch some money even if you have legal documents.” He said there was no proper place for people attending their patients.
Mohammad Rasoul, another Afghan, said RMI earned millions on a daily bases, but there was no proper place for people’s stay.
RMI officials confirmed problems Afghan patients and their attendants faced, but said most of the problems had been resolved.
RMI director Mohammad Tariq Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News police in the past would harass attendants and demand money from them, but now the issue stood resolved after he repeatedly raised it with police officials.
He did not deny the presence of middlemen taking illegal money from Afghan patients, but said he had sacked a number of employees found involved in accepting kickbacks.
Khan did not care of such employees and asked patients’ attendants to refer all their complaints to his special section that listened and registered such complaints.
An Afghan employee at the hospital, wishing anonymity, said some middlemen were Afghans who sought a large amount of money under different pretexts from their Afghan patients.
Tariq Khan said any employee of the hospital if found guilty of taking illegal money would be immediately sacked.
Types of patients
RMI officials say nearly 6,000 Afghan patients monthly arrive at the hospital with most of them suffering from heart, stomach, jaundice, cancer, childbirth, nerve problems, kidney and orthopedic diseases.
Dr. Attiqu Rahman, orthopedic doctor at the hospital in Hayatabad, a posh locality in Peshawar, said they treated mostly those Afghan patients whose bones were broken in car accidents and in bomb blasts.
He said the number of patients with injuries from laser weapons have recently increased. “Curing such patients is very complex and cost more than other diseases,” Rahman added.
A number of Afghans also work at the hospital. One of the hospital’s employees, Dr. Khalida, said most of Afghan patients visiting the hospital were unfamiliar with Urdu language and others lacked enough money to treat their diseases.
She asked Afghan people to treat their patients inside their country and do not waste their time by traveling abroad that further increases the problem of patient.
She said some Afghans had no serious problems and were simply curable inside Afghanistan, but they travel to Peshawar and waste their money and time.
Khalida also urged Afghans to avoid drinking beverages and energies because these things also caused various diseases.
Suggestions: The Afghan patients in RMI asked the Afghan government to address their health related problems and provide high quality health services inside the country.
They said the government should build governmental or private but advanced hospitals in Kabul, Nangarhar, Balkh, Kandahar and Herat provinces so that people would no longer travel abroad for medical treatment.
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