Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Most of medicines are smuggled into Afghanistan due to its porous border with Pakistan

Public health officials say most of medicines are smuggled into Afghanistan due to its porous borders. However, they are determined to curb the illegal business. Deputy Minister of Public Health Dr. Najia Tariq, during a visit to Kandahar province, told Pajhwok Afghan News her trip was aimed to evaluate health services and enhance cooperation with private health institutes. “Improvement of health services in Kandahar is the main goal of my trip,” she said, adding she had invited health officials from Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul and Nimroz provinces to discussions on their problems. “We are trying to boost cooperation among private and government healthcare centers,” Tariq said, confirming private institutes had problems offering health services, but the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) would resolve them. She criticised the poor quality of drugs and the way they were imported, saying most of medicine was smuggled to Afghanistan due to its unmanned borders with the several countries. She said drugs were imported through trucks that were not equipped with refrigerators and pharmacists did not keep them in a standard temperature. This affected the quality of medicine, she explained. However, she warned her ministry planned to check the quality of medicine and set up a laboratory in Kandahar to analyse drugs and food items. Governor Dr. Hamayun Azizi said there were still many problems in the health sector and only 40 percent of two million residents had access to healthcare services. He added only Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar was operational at the zonal level, where thousands of patients of patients, including casualties from security and traffic incidents were brought for treatment. Despite the large number of patients coming to the hospital, the number of specialists and beds was limited, the governor acknowledged. He asked health officials to increase hospital staff and the number of beds from 350 to 600. Kandahar also faced problems in addressing problems of pregnant women, because the maternity section at Mirwais Civil Hospital could not treat all patients from the province, Azizi said.

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