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50pc of Khost’s private health facilities operate illegally

Health

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Features

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50pc of Khost’s private health facilities operate illegally

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Jan 23, 2017 - 10:56

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): More than 50 percent of private healthinfo-icon centres, clinics and medical stores in Khost City, the capital of southeastern Khost province, have been functional without work permits from the municipality.

Public Health Department

A total of 701 health facilities are functional in Khost City, the department says. They include 377 medical stores, 15 clinics, 95 check-up centres, 58 laboratories, 45 dental clinics and 24 ultrasound facilities.

Additionally, 31 major pharmacies, 31 pharmaceutical branch offices, 11 X-ray clinics and others private health facilities are also functioning.

Officials say a total of 347 health centres have obtained licences, with the rest functioning without legal documents.

The registered health centres include 261 medicine stores, five clinics, 15 private check-up centres, 28 laboratories, 20 dental clinics, four ultrasound centres, six pharmacies, one X-ray centre and some other facilities.

Public & civil societyinfo-icon concerns

Residents complain private clinics and check-up centres prescribe irrelevant and additional medicines, a practice that raises disturbing questions about the performance of private health facilities in Khost.

Yousaf Entizar, an inhabitant of Khost City, alleges there are tens of clinics in the provincial capital and districts exploiting patients and fleecing the general public.

“Some doctors at private clinics have become butchers. People have no option but to take patients to them. These doctors dupe us and charge more money by prescribing druge we don’t need.”

Syed Marjan, another dweller of Khost City, acknowledges private clinics are generally good for the speedy recovery of patients. But some doctors are out to rake in money, he charges.

Jahan, hailing from Nadirshah Kot district, says his son recently suffered a bullet injury to his eye. When he took his to a private clinic, the doctor said the boy needed enucleation due to severe trauma.

Jahan claims the doctor jumped to the conclusion without any check-up or lab tests. Later, he took his son to Peshawar, where his eye surgery was satisfactorily performed. His son’s ocular system is stable now.

Jahan wants the government to strop non-professional doctors from working if it really does not want people to take their ordinary patients abroad for common medical treatment.

Jamal Tanai, a civil society activist, blasts local officials for failing to implement public health rules and regulations. The department concerned and security officials should treat illegal health centres under the law, he demands.

If the health centres get work permits, they will improve their performance and provide quality medicine, he believes. Once these facilities start providing better services, public trust in them will be restored.

Public representatives

Mujibur Rahman Salimzai, chairman of the Khost provincial council, says though improvement has come about in the sector, yet it has been unable to restore people’s confidence or meet their demands.

He accuses the department of preventing a commission tasked with taking action against illegal health centres in the province from discharging its duties. “There are individuals who have no medical qualifications nut prescribe medicines for all patients.”

He rejects the allegations leveled by Public Health Department officials that local representatives are creating hurdles to the reforms process.

Health activists

Workers of illegal medical stores and private clinics could not be reached for comments, but owners of legal facilities acknowledge problems in the health sector.

Dr. Badshah Zar Abdali, a doctor at the Matoon Baba private clinic, admits some doctors are fleecing patients under different pretexts. Most of such doctors do not have work permits.

“We should avoid prescribing unnecessary medicines that harm human bodily systems.” A doctor should prescribe medicines, keeping in view the patient’s financial position, he suggests.

Public health department and governor’s house

Public Health Director Dr. Gul Mohammad Din Mangal insists they have mounted pressure on owners of illegal medical centres. As a result, some have applied for permits.

He says the department has tried over and over again to seal illegal health centres but provincial council members created hurdles in their way.

“Interference from some officials and local representatives prevents the department from action against illegal health centres. We decided recently on closing down all illegal medical facilities.

“But later, we changed that decision and agreed on gradual action against illegal private medical stores and clinics,” he explains, linking illegal practice to the lengthy process of issuing permits.

The director, however, denies private clinics are overcharging patients or prescribes them unnecessary drugs in a bid to take kickbacks from pharmaceuticals.

Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, the governor’s spokesman, confirms issues in the public health sector. But the provincial administration remains committed to reforming the health sector, he adds.

In administrative meetings, he says, health officials were directed to take action against private medical centres and stores without legal permit and qualified doctors.

Zadran calls a refusal to get work permits a huge loss to the government. The provincial government is determined to reform health institutions and facilities, he concludes.

nh/mud

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