KABUL (Pajhwok): Some private hospitals have issued individuals travelling abroad fake Covid-19 test certificates in return for money, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt reliably.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, tests have become a condition for international travel. The Afghans traveling aboard are also required to undergo the virus test.
Available case documents
Pajhwok repeatedly tried to ascertain views of Union of Foreign Airlines (UoFA) but failed. However, documents indicate the UoFA, in a letter this month to the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA), accused Royal Medical Complex, Blossom Hospital, Biotic Medical Laboratory, Sana Medical Complex and Wahaaj Hospital of selling fake Covid-19 test certificates.
The (UoFA) urged ACAA to blacklist the five medical facilities for issuing fake test documents in exchange for money.
ACAA letter to UoFA
ACAA wrote it did not accept fake coronavirus test certificates issued by the five private hospitals.
ACAA request to MoPH
In a letter No. 402 to the MoPH, ACAA said: “The Kabul-UAE sector, a hub used by nearly 80 percent of transit passengers for connecting flights should remain committed to accurate PCR tests in line with guidelines from the health ministry; any negligence in this regard will not be acceptable.”
ACAA urged MoPH to take action to control and investigate such cases, which could affect Kabul-UAE flights. People would have no trust in ACAA and Afghanistan’s health system if the practice continued, it warned.
ACAA head Mohammad Qasim Wafizada, referring to UoFA concerns, told Pajhwok they had shared the the issue with the MoPH in a letter that called for an investigation into the allegations.
He feared the issuance of fake certificates and other documents of this kind by the private medical facilities would lead to a cut in foreign flights. Kabul-Istanbul and Kabul-Ankara flights have already been suspended.
The ACAA chief added, “The UAE, Fly Dubai and Al-Arabia Airlines have also said they had taken the negative Covid-19 test documents to foreign countries, where the papers were found to be false. Under pressure from their governments, the airlines warned of stopping flights if the issue isn’t resolved.”
Qasim Wafizada urged all airlines to accept tests at health centers that followed procedures and guidelines of MoPH.
The Ministry of Public Health says the issue has not been shared formally with it so far. Massouma Jafari, deputy spokesperson for MoPH, told Pajhwok they would conduct probe once they were officially conveyed such apprehensions.
She added the health facilities, if found involved in issuing fake test certificates would be warned. And if they do not pay stop the practice, they might be closed.
Stance of health facilities
The accused health centers called the UoFA written letter to the ACAA as a conspiracy against the hospitals.
The above hospitals’ officials said, currently five hospitals continue their activities in the mentioned section but Al-Arabia, Fly Dubai and the UAE firms did not refer passengers to their health centers for testing at the request of the ACAA so far.
Dr. Mohammad Hashim Wahaj, the hospital director, scorned the allegations regarding the sham Covid-19 test certificates as baseless.
UoFA had agreements with a few hospitals only, he alleged, blaming the union for trying to exclude a number of medical facilities from the process.
Dr. Wahaj insisted the ACAA letter was against them. No one except the Ministry of Public Health had the right to deal with affairs of hospitals.
Nilab Sadat, senior executive director of Sana hospital, told Pajhwok they had the best equipment, PCR machines and experienced doctors in the relevant department.
She added so far they had not been officially informed of the fake certificates. Documents of fake test results were not available to anyone, she continued.
She described the allegations as a conspiracy against her hospital that was committed to serving the people. Her hospital would never do anything against the law, she promised. “There is no proof against us. If there is any, please share it with us.”
Royal Medical Complex
Mohammad Karim Rassouli, the hospital administrator, also rejected the allegations. If any evidence was produced, he said, not only the PCR machine would be removed, but the hospital itself would also be closed.
He criticised ACAA for levelling the allegations and said the authority leadership had no right to close any hospital.
Nisar Ahmad Lashkari, operational director, called the UoFA allegations a conspiracy against his hospital and said there was no evidence to show they had issued fake coronavirus test result documents.
He said his hospital has been operating for the past two decades. The hospital would allow no one to damage its reputation for the sake of money.
Pajhwok tried to get Biotic Hospital’s version as well, but no contact could be established with its staff.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.