Remote areas residents in Baghlan lack health facilities
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Residents of several districts in northern Baghlan province complain about a lack of health facilities in far-flung areas and as a result many precious lives had been lost.
Despite the unprecedented development that took place during the past 14 years, the people of Baghlan still lack health facilities and a shortage of doctors and medicines.
Some residents said due to the lack of health facilities, many patients had lost their lives on the way to hospitals in nearby provinces.
Qari Mohammad Karim, a resident of Jumma Ali village in Guzargah district, said there was only one clinic in the district centre.
He said health facilities in villages were situated one or two kilometers away from local residences. The roads, he said, were in a dilapidated condition and people had to carry patients over their shoulders.
According to Qari Karim, there is no ambulance service in the village and people couldn’t shift their patients to Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital, quickly because the roads were damaged.
He said shifting patients to Taluqan, the capital of neighboring Takhar province, was costly, with only fare of vehicle costing 10,000 afghanis. “And you to have buy medicines and other things as well.”
Similarly, residents of Pul-i-Hisar district also complained about the lack of proper health facilities.
Ahmad Javed, a resident, said one doctor, one nurse and one vaccinator were available in the only clinic that functioned on district level. There was no ambulance facility in the clinic, he lamented.
Had there been a surgeon and ambulance facility in the district clinic, patients might not have lost their lives on the way to hospitals in other provinces, he said.
Provincial council head Dr. Safdar Mohsini said residents of Guzargah Noor, Farang Jalga and Pul-i-Hisar districts had repeatedly complained about the absence of professional doctors and ambulances.
“We have discussed the issue with health officials and they promised to resolve the problem in the near future,” he said.
Deputy public health director Dr. Mohammad Halim Ghafari also said they had shared these problems with the Ministry of Public health.
He said clinics in Guzargah Noor and Farang districts would be upgraded soon into advanced health centers and two other clinics in Pul-i-Hisar and Jalga districts would be upgraded in the next phase.
Small clinics contained one doctor, one nurse and one vaccinator while advanced clinics contained four doctors including two female professionals and an ambulance, Ghafari said.
However, he said mother and child mortality had decreased in Baghlan compared to the past.
Based on Baghlan public health survey, 35 infants and 10 mothers lost their lives on provincial level last year compared 15 infants and four mothers this solar year. Most of the deaths occurred in Tala Wa Barfak, Dahna Ghori and Farang districts.
“Improvement in health services, the implementation of training courses for midwives and public awareness were main factors leading to decreased mother and child mortality,” Ghafari said.
Based on a survey of the Ministry of Public Health, at least 1,600 among 100,000 mothers would lose their lives during childbirth 14 years ago, but the figures dropped to 329 deaths among 100,000 mothers.
According to the ministry, 111 children under the age of two years and 129 under five years among 1,000 children would die before reaching 14 years, but now the mortality of children under two years had decreased to 77 and under five to 97.
On the other hand, a number of residents of Pul-i-Khumri city, the capital of Baghlan, complained the absence of screening test facility in the provincial civil hospital.
One of them, Abdul Naser, said: “It was 11pm at night when we took my brother’s wife to the civil hospital, but doctors told us the patient needs a screening test which was not available there, therefore we took the patient to a private clinic.”
He said they paid 700 afghanis for the test and if the facility was available in the government hospital, they would not have paid the money and have treated the patient on time.
Naser asked the public health department to take notice of patients’ problems and do not direct them to private healthcare centers.
However, Baghlan deputy public health director said screening test system was available in the provincial civil hospital but there were no professional doctors to utilize it.
He said the screening test professional had resigned like his predecessors under pressure from increasing number of patients and workload.
Baghlan Civil Hospital has 100 beds where more than 100 patients receive treatment on a daily basis.
Local health officials say 69 health centers are active in Baghlan, including the provincial hospital, two hospitals in Baghlan-i-Markazi and Narain districts and 13 advanced clinics and four small clinics in other districts of the province.
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