KABUL says about 60 percent of Afghans have access to health services, but the number will be increased to 90 percent this year.
Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz told a press conference on International Health Day on Saturday the creation of dozens of new health centres would improve access to services.
“Despite a lack of financial resources, the health sector has made significant progress in improving services, including a drop in maternal mortality rates from 1,600 in 2002 to 1,396 in 2015,” he said.
The minister added: “During the period, deaths of children under the age of five have also dropped from 257 to 55 per 1,000 live births,”
Feroz said about 60 percent of Afghan population had access to adequate health services, but his ministry was striving to increase access to healthcare to 90 percent by the end of 2018.
Earlier, the ministry inked contracts for 206 new health centres to be established in 13 provinces this year with financial support from the World Bank.
“Currently, five dollars are allocated annually for providing health services to each Afghan. Even in the poorest countries, like Africa, $20 is allocated for a person,” he explained.
This amount is aimed to deal with communicable diseases, no money is allocated to diseases, including blood pressure, cancer, heart problems and sugar. He said 30 percent of deaths in the country happened as a result of these disease.
Dr, Mujeeb Rahman Chamkani, the Wolesi Jirga head for health affairs who also participated in the meeting, complained the quality of services remained low despite improvement in the sector.
“All local and foreign officials have a duty to address this problem. It is true that there are many health centres in Afghanistan, but people should have access to adequate services,” he remarked.
Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in Afghanistan, said over the past few years, there had been a lot of progress in the health sector in Afghanistan. The WHO has played a key role in this regard.
“We are striving to provide high-quality health services in remote parts of the country in the coming years in coordination with MoPH,” he remarked.