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Paying for advanced healthcare; Will enforce new law next year: Minister

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Minister of Public Health on Tuesday said that new law binding the rich people to pay for modern healthcare services in the state-run hospitals would be implemented next year.

Talking to Afghanistan Times, Ferozuddin Feroz said that a specific mechanism would be carved out to determine about financial status of a patient.

He said that obliging the rich people to pay for modern-day health services would eliminate corruption in the hospitals and improve the health sectors.

“People pay big amount in bribes to doctors for surgeries and different treatment facilities in the government hospitals. This has created challenges for the public hospitals. Therefore, legally obliging the rich people to pay for advanced health facilities in public hospitals will end the culture of bribe,” the minister said.

Feroz said the ministry was committed to prevent people from offering doctors money “under the table”. He said that with this money, the government could provide quality services to people in health sector.

The Wolesi Jirga or House of the People on Saturday amended the Health Law in order to standardize medical treatment in government hospitals.

The amendments by the Wolesi Jirga will now enable the public hospitals and health centers to take fee from rich patients who are seeking advanced healthcare. Advanced healthcare has been underlined by the government as angiography, angioplasty, bypass, stents, dialysis and transplant.

Due to lack of modern technology and specialists in the public and private hospitals, Afghans are forced to seek medical treatment outside the country—an issue that impacts the middle-class families.

Minister of Public Health stressed that the ministry is determined to specify a small amount for treatment of patients, so that everyone would be able to pay the fee.

Firozuddin Firoz on Monday said the ministry has failed to spend part of its development budget in past five months due to lack of capacity and human resources, and that this issue has affected healthcare services in the country.

 

Firoz said that they have failed to introduce quality and effective healthcare services to the countrymen as a result of shortage of human resources in the ministry. “Absence of sufficient capacity in leadership and management affected the ministry’s development budget spending process, as we failed to spend 10 percent of the allocated amount for promoting healthcare services countrywide,” he said.

According to him, the ministry adopted a number of effective measures for health services in different part of the country in past three months, including renovation of emergency departments of hospitals, implantation of polio vaccination campaigns, cooperation with international donors and reconstruction of 34 clinics in remote areas.

About his 100-day plan, the minister said he prepared the plan in 20 major parts for the next three months which includes development and improvement of health services, enhancement of medicines quality, food security and good leadership.

Criticizing poor health services in a number of private health centers, the minister said that at least 124 private hospitals are active in Kabul but most of them are providing sub-standard health services and are far away from meeting principles of the ministry.

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