Afghans still spending millions of dollars for treatment abroad

By: Shukria Kohistani

KABUL: Thousands of Afghans are still spending millions of afghanis for the treatment of their patients abroad, as they blame the government for failing to establish effective treatment centres inside the country.
“We have to take a big amount of money as loan to pay for the travel expenses when taking our patients to India,” said Shah Mahmoud a patient.
This is while a cancer branch has been established in the Jamhuriat hospital, where only people suffering cancer are being injected serum and released.
Meanwhile the ministry of finance said Afghans with critical diseases are spending more than $500 million annually to treat their patients abroad.
Calling the expenditures used in cancer treatment abroad very eye-catching, Acting Minister of Finance Qayumi said annually a total of up to $500 are spent for cancer treatment outside the country, while the exact figure he said was just $300 each year.
The minister vowed to export modern cancer treatment devices and install in the Jamhuriat Hospital of Kabul the capital and between six months to two years, four cancer treatment centers would be provided in Kabul, Herat and Nangarhar and according to him, the cancer treatment centers would be completed in Jamhuriat and Ali Jenah hospitals in the next one month.
He said 16000 out of 20,000 cancer ailing patients have lost their lives in the past year.
Expressing grave concern over the rapidly outbreak of the cancer diseases, the country’s president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called the death of 16,000 cancer affected people a national tragedy and said to fight the tragedy a national plan should be taken on hand.
He said treatment of fatal diseases requires involvement of the private sector and the citizens themselves for undertaking part of the expenses.
The president added that cancer treatment budget and equipment of cancer treatment centers would be lodged in the next year’s budget and in addition, there is a need for the Afghan private sector to involve in this section as well as the international private sector should also be invited for investment in this field.
Meanwhile, Taher Sharan, Chief of the Nuclear Energy Commission blamed lack of cancer treatment center in the country and said due to non-coordination among the related organs such center has not been still activated. High-quality treatment centers, particularly on cancer disease has not still gotten operational in the country, sending cancer affected people to out of the country.

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