Insecurity hampers delivery of health services in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Officials in southern Helmand province say they have enough resources but growing insecurity impedes the delivery of health services to the people.
Public Health Director Inayatullah Ghafari told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview his department provided health services to 75 percent of residents of districts and Lashkargah, the provincial capital.
He said 85 health facilities were operational in Lashkargah and districts. Of them 25 percent do not have proper buildings.The remaining facilities, including six emergency centres, 11 health units and eight mobile clinics are housed in rented premises.
The emergency clinics are situated in Sangin, Musa Kala, Greshk, Marja and Garmser districts, where war victims are treated on a priority bases. He said the facilities provided healthcare to 2 million ill people in the province.
He, however, explained that despite all available resources, the health department was unable to provide facilities to the masses in areas affected by war and a presence of militants.
Ghafari said insecurity hampered efforts at the delivery of health services in time, construction of new facilities and dispatchlady health workers to troubled areas. The department had 317 health officials, including 35 women.
The top officialcomplained they could not vaccinate children with polio and other ailments in conflict-hit areas of the province. But he would not said how many children had been deprived of vaccination.
The director underlined the need for a population census and improved security so that his department could implement the projects it planned. Flu, cough and other seasonal diseases are common and the department is providing sufferers medicine.
About illegal clinics in Lashkargah, the official said a commission had been formed to deal with the issue in line with the relevant law.
Nisar Ahmad Barak, the provincial hospital chief, said they received 300 ill people on a daily basis. Some of them need to be hospitalised while others are discharged after necessary medical treatment.
The hospital also deals daily with 40 delivery cases, with four needing to undergo operations. He acknowledged the hospital received assistances from Doctors Without Borders over the past six years.
Barak said the hospital had 161 full-time and 800 contractual employees. The Paris-based medical charity funds salaries of 250 female doctors. Earlier the provincial hospital had 150 beds, but now the number has gone up to 285.
In addition to Afghan doctors, five foreigners are also discharging duties and help in medical treatment of patients.
Shafiullah, a policeman who sustained injures during a clash in the Nahr-i-Saraj locality, was happy with the treatment he received at Bust Hospital in the provincial capital.
Tor Wali, another injured security official, complained of insufficient beds in the hospital, saying next wounded persons had to be content with lying on the ground.
Helmand has suffered the most during the past decade of insurgency. The southern province has witnessed heavy fighting between Taliban and security forces in recent years.
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