KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Residents and public health’s height mother-child mortality rates.
Officials say mothers lose their lives to complications which are easily preventable during pregnancy and child birth.
Acting Kandahar public health director Dr. Mohammad Azim Zmaryal, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said other zones of the country had maternity hospitals, but Kandahar remained deprived of the vital service.
The only maternity ward in Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar City lacked facilities and staff even to cope with patients coming from within Kandahar, he said.
Zmaryal said hundreds of patients from Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul and other provinces daily arrived at the maternity ward in Mirwais Hospital. He said shortage of female health specialists was another serious problem.
“Only two among the 17 female staff at the maternity ward are specialist doctors and the rest are pursuing their specializations,” he said.
But 15 of the female staff would leave for other provinces after completing their specialization, said
Zmaryal, who said the medical staff shortage would be filled with upcoming graduates from local public and private sector universities in near future.
He said many midwives had recently been appointed at various Kandahar hospitals, attending women during their deliveries, but they could not treat complicated cases.
Except Spin Boldak district, there was not even a single female doctor in other districts of Kandahar, he added.
“Women who travel long distances from districts to the provincial capital, Kandahar City, for child delivery die on roads due to the bad road conditions and lack of health facilities in their own areas.”
Zmaryal said the problem could be overcome if a hospital on the southern zone level was established exclusively for maternity and other women’s health related services.
Dr. Fareshta Bawar, the maternity ward head at the Mirwais Hospital, said they were in great trouble due to the shortage of resources, personnel and a proper working environment.
She echoed the idea of a special maternity hospital in Kandahar on the zonal level.
“Despite huge problems, more than 50 deliveries are attended at the ward on a daily basis. On average, five cesarean deliveries happen in the maternity every day”, she added.
Provincial women’s affairs director Ruqia Achakzai said women in Kandahar were deprived of many facilities and rights including health services.
They faced issues like domestic violence, illiteracy and many others and their health had also been ignored, complained the official.
“The mother mortality rate is high due to the absence of healthcare services. Many women die on the way to Kandahar City from remote districts before reaching hospital,” she said.
Achakzai asked the central government to increase healthcare services for women, particularly maternity services, in Kandahar.
A provincial council member, Sarina Faizi, also said mothers from the entire southern zone came to the maternity ward of Mirwais Hospital that could not handle all the patients.
She said the provincial council had also demanded of the central government to provide a maternity hospital in Kandahar on the zonal level.
There are a total of 97 healthcare centers, including 14 privately-run, in Kandahar.
District residents also complain about lack of health services in their regions.
Not a single healthcare center is available in two Kandahar districts –Shurawak and Registan — due to insecurity and other problems.
According to Kandahar public health department, 94 areas in districts of the province are without any healthcare facilities.