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Helmand has only 2, not 8 ventilators: Officials

Helmand has only 2, not 8 ventilators: Officials

Jun 28, 2020 - 11:32


KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Public Healthinfo-icon (MoPH) has provided eight ventilators to the Health Department of southern Helmand province, but only two dysfunctional respiratory devices are available in the province, local officials said on Sunday.

After Pajhwok Afghan News released a report regarding the smuggling of 32 ventilators to Pakistaninfo-icon, the MoPH administration head told reporters one June 24 that the devices had been made available to all provincial hospitals based on their needs.

The MoPH shared a list of 225 ventilators with the media and the Presidential Palace, showing the machines had been distributed to hospitals in 33 provinces of the country.

According to the MoPH list, six ventilators are available in Helmand hospitals. Later on, two more respiratory devices were supplied to Helmand, taking the total number to eight.

But Public Health Director of Helmand Abdul Ahad Azim revealed the ministry had provided them only two dysfunctional ventilators on June 3.

“Some health department personnel were trained on how to operate digital ventilators. But the two respiratory devices we received are analog. They cannot produce oxygen automatically and need oxygen cylinders,” he explained.

But a well-placed source told Pajhwok Afghan News that labels of Jamhooriat Hospital (situated in Kabul) are attached to both ventilators, suggesting that they were utilised by that facility.

Pajhwok has received a document, in which Helmand Governor Mohammad Yaseen has voiced his reservations to the Complaint Office of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).

“We have received two outdated ventilators from MoPH. These ventilators have been shown as issued to Helmand, but they are dysfunctional. We have allocated money from our own budget for the two ventilators. We direly need more and they are not enough as the situation here is very grim. We need help from the centre and it will be very good if we get support,” Yasin wrote to IDLG.

Zainullah Stanikzai, a member of the Special Committee for Combating Coronavirus in Helmand, said 50 million afghanis had been allocated by the president for curbing the disease in the province.

He added 126 different types of equipment, including two ventilators, had been purchased with that money.

He said two Chinese ventilators were handed over to health officials on Saturday and their serial numbers are 391506112 and 391506114.

Stanikzai confirmed the two ventilators provided earlier were not functional. He hoped the purchase of new machines would help overcome problems of patients with respiratory issues.

Walli Khan, a civil societyinfo-icon activist, acknowledged coronavirus patients faced difficulties due to the lack of proper ventilators in hospitals.

“If there are two or three machines, functional or dysfunctional -- it is not a public issue. It is health department’s duty to ensure the availability of ventilators,” he commented.

On June 25, acting Public Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Usmani shared a list of ventilators provided by foreign donors. Of the 54 ventilators provided to Afghanistaninfo-icon, eight were donated by the Worldinfo-icon Health Organisation (WHO).

At least 10 were donated by Turkey, one by Turkey’s TIKA Organisation, two by Iran, seven by Qatar’s Al Ghorafa Welfare Organisation while the suppliers of 26 other machines were not mentioned on the list.

The list indicates 30 of the 54 ventilators are distributed to hospitals in 13 different provinces while 24 others are still in the central warehouse.

Health Ministry spokesperson Akmal Samsor earlier told Pajhwok that China had provided four ventilators, Turkey three, Iran three and the WHO 27 to Afghanistan.

It is third report by Pajhwok in a series tracking ventilators.



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