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Health care for rural population

It has been more than 13 years since fall of the Taliban’s regime, but the authorities have utterly failed in providing health care services to all citizens. This is more evident in remote parts of the country where most of the people live. Despite claims of the officials, access to health care is a major problem in rural areas. Though, majority of the population lives in remote parts, the government has diverted the resources towards cities. People in these remote areas not only have difficulties with communication and transport, but they also face the challenge of shortage of doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals. Besides poverty, illiteracy and insecurity, they are caught by substandard basic health units. Status of the health care services in the rural areas of the country is comparatively worse than cities.

This is the reason that residents of Paktia have voiced their concerns over shortage of the doctors and medicines at the health care facilities in the remote areas of the province. More than 75 percent of people live in rural areas where they find it a herculean task to access basic healthcare services. There are only 50 basic health units, but most of them lack medicines, surgeons, specialists, female nurses and modern equipment. No doubt, these substandard and insufficient health facilities have resulted in increase maternal and child mortality rates.

For improvement of health care in remote areas it is important to channel the resources to these areas. Small but well-equipped hospitals should be built in each city, so those living in rural areas will have access to modern-day health care.

Similarly, the authorities should also pay heed to the transportation-related problems in these backward areas. Often rural populations find it hard to shift patients to hospital, particularly in emergency situation, because most of rural areas are deprived of roads.

For successful rural health initiatives in the country, it is imperative to have public-private partnership and collaborate with the international organizations. Furthermore, the health ministry shall outline a comprehensive policy for health promotion and disease prevention. For this purpose clinical preventive services should be introduced in the basic health units.

The government should take surgical steps with specific focus on rural health. Through broadening the focus, the authorities could address these serious problems, related to health sector. Attention towards primary health care is need of the hour. To do so there is need for a specific and result-oriented action plan to overcome the immense challenges for improving health status of rural people. International and local organization working in health sector can help the government in this aspect, especially to address the shortage of doctors and other health workers in the remote areas.

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