Editorial

Healthcare systems need further investments

The decades of war and bloodsheds have taken a heavy toll on life in Afghanistan. It has also severely affected the capacity of concerned agencies to respond to critical public healthcare challenges. Hereof, Afghanistan used to be called as one of the most dangerous places in the world to live a healthy life. However, it seems that public healthcare system is one of the unique sectors which relatively have better achievements with providing the widest health services throughout the country and the government is sparing no effort to improve the sector.
Minister of Public Health received “Best Minister Award” at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Feb. 10, 2019. According to him, the decrease in maternal and child mortality rates and an increased access to health services are among the achievements made in the ministry. The mortality rate in Afghanistan for under five-year-oldalso reduced by 44 percent and on increasing life expectancy at birth by seven years.
But, despite progress in the health sector, access to quality secondary and tertiary healthcare is still limited in Afghanistan. As a result, many Afghans seek healthcare abroad, spending an estimated $285 million annually. The government of Afghanistan is encouraging regional and international investment to expand healthcare inside the country and to alleviate the need for people to go abroad.
Three Indian health organizations signed contracts with an Afghan health company at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) here on Sunday to expand the provision of quality healthcare in Afghanistan.The contracts, with an estimated value of $6.5 million, aimed to establish a fully equipped diagnostic center,an advanced dialysis center, and a manufacturing plant for the production of pharmaceuticals in Kabul.
People mostly choose to go the neighboring countries for serious health problems. There are many people who visit Pakistan and India every year for better medical facilities. India has remained as one of the main medical tourism destinations for Afghans, since there were many ups and downs in bilateral relations with Pakistan that affected on medical tourism in the neighboring country.
Travelling abroad for treatments may be convenient for the ones who are financially strong, and they can afford, but the ones who cannot afford going other countries remain untreated and mostly neglected. It is really tragic for them as their own country lack modern medical machineries.
Though there are government hospitals as well in the country, the quality of services provided by these hospitals are not satisfactory, their number is not sufficient and they are not established in most of the remote areas; therefore, most of the people do not have access to them. On the other hand, private hospitals that have been established in major cities are very expensive, however they also offer low medical services.
Such a scenario is really dreadful and worth special attention; moreover, only lip service would do no good to change the scenario. Therefore, the officials in charge must take necessary measures and attract further investments in the sector, as the issue is very delicate and it is related to the lives of the people.

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