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Kabul area health clinics in desperate need of rehabilitation

Afghanistan, January 25, 2002

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    A recent Mercy Corps assessment showed health clinics near Kabul in great need of basic supplies and staff. Photo: Scott Heidler/ Mercy Corps Photo:

A Mercy Corps assessment team recently visited health clinics in the villages outside the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, and found health facilities lacking basic medicines and patients forced to wait on hallway floors because there were no beds.

The team visited five clinics in the district surrounding Paghman - a town situated an hour west of Kabul. What it discovered were health clinics that have suffered from years of neglect and conflict.

“The clinics were very barren with very basic cinderblock walls,” said Mercy Corps Information Officer Scott Heidler in a Phone Inteview from Kabul today. “They were very cold, dank rooms with not much equipment, if any at all.”

Heidler said that the team found that the main clinic in the center of Paghman was in desperate need of supplies and staffing and that the situation was even worse in the areas outside the town with some clinics closed and others being operated out of people’s homes.

“In one of the clinics we went to there used to be ten beds and now they have nothing. They have two or three empty rooms with people waiting in the hallways,” Heidler said. “Right now it looks like Mercy Corps is going to build a new clinic south of Paghman because the people there really have nothing at all.”

Heidler said that medicine and supplies, as well as women doctors to care for Afghan women are the most immediate needs in most clinics. Health care for all Afghans suffered drastically in recent years with women’s care particularly impacted.

Afghanistan’s infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world and neonatal education is an especially critical need.

Heidler said that the Mercy Corps office in Kabul is continuing to assess the health care needs of the people in villages outside the city.

Mercy Corps currently operates health care programs in other parts of the country including a network of rural basic health units in southern Afghanistan as well as in Afghan refugee villages in Baluchistan province in neighboring Pakistan that serves over 370,000 people.