Helmand civil hospital facing acute shortage of beds
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The civil hospital in the capital of southern Helmand province is facing a severe shortage of beds for patients, public health officials and residents say.
Some public health officials say the civil hospital in Lashkargah has the capacity for 150 beds, but 300 beds have been made available in the hospital under problematic circumstances.
Helmand public health director Dr. Inayatullah Ghafari said the central hospital, Bost, had space for 150 beds, but they had placed 300 beds there due to the increasing number of patients.
But he said the 300 beds were still insufficient to deal with the large number of patients daily arriving at the hospital, particularly injured people.
Ghafari said on the one hand people injured in the ongoing conflict in Helmand were brought to the hospital and on the other adults and children were got infected with various diseases due to the bad weather conditions.
He said the increasing number of patients had overburdened hospital staff as patients from nearby provinces also visited the hospital for being well-equipped.
Ghafari said 87 health centres were operational in Laskhargah and districts across the province with some supported by non-governmental organizations and others by the Public Health Ministry.
He said 12 of the 87 health centres had no buildings of their own and were either run as mobile or being operated from rented houses.
The public health director said there were also two rehabilitation centres for drug addicts --- 50 bedded and 20 bedded. He said one hospital in the Sangin district had been closed and all other hospitals in the province were operational.
He said hospitals in areas where security was comparatively good treated up to 2000 patients on monthly basis.
He said hospitals in conflict-hit areas were temporarily closed and reopened after the clashes came to an end. But generally there were a lot of problems and challenges being faced by the public health sector in Helmand, the official said.
Dr. Ghafari cited the shortage of medical staff another problem impeding the delivery of better health services to people.
He said there were 30 ambulances in Lashkargah and districts and they were mostly used in shifting victims of the conflict to hospitals.
Residents of the province said they were happy with the health services but they also mentioned some problems and demanded measures to resolve them.
Samiullah, who lives in Loyi Nari Manda area of Nad Ali district, said his ailing father was admitted to the Bost hospital. He said his father received better treatment, but the problem was that doctors who performed duty at night were inattentive.
A resident of Nawa district, Wasil Ahmad, told Pajhwok Afghan News hospitals in districts were not well-equipped and people had to shift their patients to the provincial capital.
He was satisfied with the services offered at the civil hospital, but said female patients, particularly at the gynae ward, complained about misbehavior of nurses.
He said the nurses taunted female patients about their poverty and dirty clothes.
A resident of Lashkargah, Gul Ahmad, also told Pajhwok Afghan News two to three patients were seen on one bed in the civil hospital.
He said besides patients suffering from common diseases, those injured in the conflict were also being brought to the hospital.
He asked the government to expand the civil hospital keeping in view the increasing number of patients and wounded people.
The civil hospital director, Nisar Ahmad Barak, told Pajhwok Afghan News that about 300 patients daily visited the hospital, with some needing beds.
He said nearly 40 pregnant women daily arrived at the hospital and at least four women underwent surgical operations.
He said the Doctors Without Borders organization had been providing essential equipment to the hospital over the past six years.
“That’s why the standard of our services is high. In addition to Helmand, patients from Kandahar, Uruzgan, Farah, Daikundi and Nimroz also visit this hospital.”
According to his information, 161 government and 800 contract-based employees are working in the civil hospital, including 250 females.
The contracted staff is provided salaries by the France-based Doctors Without Borders organization.
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