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September 29, 2018
The Kabul Times

Thousands of Afghans still going abroad for treatment

Despite efforts of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) for providing enough health facilities inside the country, thousands of Afghans are still taking their patients outof the country, mostly to Pakistan and India for treatment.
Sayed Ahmad, a Kabul resident, in aninterview with The Kabul Times said that a large number of Afghan citizens are still leaving for other countries to treat their patients as inside the country, state-run hospitals offer poor quality medications, while the private hospitals, also besides failing to provide standard health services,ask for high intolerable fees.”So,they have no choice except taking their patients to some neighboring countriesfor treatment.”
“Majority of our people are poor and cannot afford high fees of their patients’ treatment in both private hospitals inside the country or foreign countries, but they have to seek quality therapy abroad, if needed, despite unaffordable expenses,” Ahmad said.
He expectshigh quality health servicesto be offered through the country’s public hospitals for the poverty suffered people to treat their patients inside the country.
In connection tothe linkage ofAfghan hospitals with each other, Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Public Health to connect 15 provincial hospital with Kabul, aiming to promote medical tourism in the country and that to reduce expenditure of those cannot afford treatments.
Another countryman, Parwez says that the government of Afghanistan especially the MoPH first, should prepare the ground for treatment of patients inside of the country. “We are witnessing, comparing the government hospitals, work permit to private hospitals given more for diagnosing and treatment of patients and in every part of Kabul city, several private health centers are active and for treatment of their patients, people pay much money to such hospitals.”
Unfortunately, despite of numerous private hospitals that are active beside government ones, our people are affording to refer to overseas hospitals and accept much expenditures, he added.
He believes as science and technology developed, and facilities are provided abroad for diagnosing and treatment of patients, the MoPH should lay much emphasize on training of professional physicians. “Because, majority parts of our country is insecure and so far, our people have no access to such technology.”
Now, in a number of private hospitals, foreign experts are working, but theycitizens raising concerns that they are not expertized.
They only come to Afghanistan to evacuate the pockets of Afghans and after treatment, the patients have their own health problem and are not enjoying from health privileges, he added.
At the same time, for providing facilities in health centers, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between MoPH and ATRA to connect health centers of provinces with capital. Through such facilitates the patients to be treated who are living in remote areas of the country.
In a ceremony held on the same occasion in Kabul, Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Firoz said that first, the Sharan hospital of Paktika and Aihak hospital of Samangan would be connected with Jamhuriat hospital of Kabul and in upcoming years, the hospitals of 15 provinces of the country to be connected with various hospitals of capital, Kabul.
According to this MoU, after joining of provincial hospitals with hospitals of Kabul, the system of Afghanistan hospitals would be connected with the hospitals abroad.
As medical profession and technology are close with each other there is no need the patients to leave their native areas for the capital and by electronic means, the illness of patients is diagnosing and necessary instructions to be given to physicians in the connection.
The MoPH of Afghanistan says that with taking of this step, $ 300 million to be saved and prevented from pouring into foreigners’ pockets that are spent for treatment of Afghan patients abroad.
In this three years project, three million dollars would be spent that would be paid by ATRA. Head of this administration, Dr. Najibullah in the connection of this project said that the role of ATRA in the project is very significant.
First, the role of its funding and second ATRA supervise the project, adding supervision taken place for transparent expenditure of money paid by ATRA.
“Likewise, we share our information relates to project with MoPH about its effectiveness and problems available in this project,” he added.
This is in a time that despite existence of numerous hospital, laboratories and diagnostic centers in the country, so far, our patient compatriots leave for abroad especially for Pakistan and India that is very expensive and problematic for them.
Shukria Kohistani

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