Afghanistan’s hospitals suffer from bed shortage

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Emphasising the urgent need for active beds in the country to adequately serve people in Afghanistan, acting minister of public health Qalandar Ebad, said the country’s health system needs 45,000 active beds, but currently, only 12,000 beds are active across the country, TOLO News reported. On World Health Day, the acting minister of public health lamented the current situation, stating that the existing healthcare system, with fewer beds, falls far short of meeting the nation’s needs and aspirations.

“It is our need and necessity to have 45,000 active beds in Afghanistan; if we have them, we can then offer services to all the people of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the system we inherited from the past or the one we are currently situated in only has 12,000 active beds,” he said, as per TOLO News. Qalandar Ebad called on the international community to cooperate with the ministry in expanding healthcare centres and providing services.

According to TOLO News, the World Health Organisation’s representative in Afghanistan, Jamshed Tanoli, also called for ensuring healthcare systems for everyone, especially women and children in Afghanistan. Additionally, he emphasised that 18 million people in Afghanistan need humanitarian health assistance. Experts, on the other hand, highlighted that access to quality healthcare continues to be a critical concern in Afghanistan.

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Additionally, the WHO representative said that, “access to quality healthcare remains a pressing issue in Afghanistan, with nearly 80 million people dependent on humanitarian health assistance. The influx of Afghan returnees from neighbouring countries further strains the already fragile health systems and highlights the need for resilient and responsive healthcare systems.” Doctors have also put forth demands for enhancements within the country’s health sector.

“Our centres must be equipped because we lack some equipment in the diagnostic and laboratory sections, and work needs to be done on this,” said Waisuddin Ebrahimi, a doctor. “Awareness for doctors should be academically achieved through educational programmes abroad so that they can become aware of the latest topics emerging in the health sector,” said Asma Rahbin, another doctor.

Further, a number of caretakers of patients also urged the Ministry of Public Health to establish standardised public hospitals for the treatment of patients within the country. “We want the attention of the Ministry of Public Health to establish a well-equipped hospital for all patients in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is full of diseases,” Sakhi Mohammad, a caretaker, told TOLOnews.

“We request the public health ministry’s attention to establish a well-equipped hospital for all the diseases that exist,” said Abdul Haq, another caretaker. “4,900 healthcare centres are operational across the country, and last year, 80 million people sought treatment at these health centres,” As per the Ministry of Public Health’s numbers.