KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Healthcare centers built six years ago in three districts of southeastern Khost province remain non-functional and have partially damaged, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.
Local people, civil society activists and provincial council members say that some parts of the healthcare facilities are already damaged before their inauguration and they may be not even usable in the future.
A 30-bed hospital in Yaqobi Sabari district, a 30-bed hospital in Nadir Shah Kot district and two clinics in Haronkhil district were built six years ago, but they have not been put into service so far.
Based on information, these facilities cost around $200 million afghanis, with India funding one of them. The others were financed by Counter-narcotics Department and three of them by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
Sayed Amin Saba, a resident of Yaqobi Sabari district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the 30-bed hospital built in Khalbisat Township in the district was on the brink of destruction.
He said that the hospital was much needed in the area as it could provide health services to four nearby districts.
“The hospital’s construction was also carried out in a substandard manner. The youth in Khost voiced their concern in the beginning about the substandard construction, but their voice fell on deaf ears. The hospital building is on the verge of destruction and needs repair works.”
Similarly, a resident of Alisher district, Javedullah Fida, said local residents faced a lot of problems due to the absence of health services and they used to travel for dozens of kilometers to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
He claimed Khost province received ‘step-motherly’ treatment from the Public Health Ministry and the newly built health facilities remained inactive due to the concerned department’s weak leadership.
“These clinics are inactivated, even those which are activated lack medicines for months, people are in serious trouble,” he said.
Meanwhile, a resident of Nader Shah Kot district, Nazir Roshan, said that local elders and youths had repeatedly asked officials concerned to activate the hospital, but no one listened to them.
“Yes, it is a fact that a 30-bed hospital in Nader Shah Kot district was built six years ago, but unfortunately it is currently used by CHC clinic and has no any facilities and personnel,” he added.
A civil society activist, Fardiullah Qurban, said that MoPH had adopted a double standard approach toward the province and the mentioned healthcare centers and clinics were left unused due to negligence.
“It is our demand that required personnel should be recruited there as soon as possible because these clinics were built long ago and if they are left unused they would be damaged with the passage of time,” he added.
Meanwhile, a member of the provincial council, Nor Shah Noorani, said they had repeated asked the Ministry of Public Health to make operational the mentioned clinics, but the ministry failed to take interest in the matter for the last six years.
“I as people representative urge the public health ministry to activate the clinics without further delay. The population of Khost is more than 1.5 million and there is a great rush on the hospital in Khost City. The central hospital is unable to cope with the large number of patients visiting it. I am confident if the newly built clinics in the districts are inaugurated, it will ensure timely health services to local people.”
Khost public health director Dr. Habibullah Ansari told Pajhwok Afghan News that efforts were underway to make operational the district clinics and approve staff.
Talib Mangal, the spokesman for Khost governor, said all those hospitals which have been built but not functional due to lack of personnel and facilities would be given priority in new contracts.
Pajhwok has previously published a detailed report about the same clinics and at the time provincial officials had vowed to make functional all inactive clinics in the province.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.