AT-KABUL: Despite the fact that millions of dollars were spent on improvement of healthcare services in the country in past 14 years, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said Wednesday that still 50 percent of Afghans are deprived of healthcare services, most of them in remote areas.
“We are trying to overcome this problem and provide healthcare services to all citizens, including those living in remote areas,” said Firozuddin Firoz, the public health minister. He added that they would kick off an assessment process and find the areas that have no access to healthcare services.
He said he would establish healthcare centers in remote areas and would send doctors and nurses there. “Our next step includes improving of healthcare services and healthcare centers in the areas which are faced with lack of the centers and the services,” the minister told a session titled ‘Health Sector Revenue Information Database’.
Terming insecurity as main hurdle for healthcare workers, the minister said they would train local doctors and would provide medical equipment to local clinics in a bid to boost up healthcare services in the areas.
As an alternative, he said, the ministry would try to help in establishment of non-governmental or private healthcare centers to advance treatment services remote and insecure areas. He added that another option for increasing the access of people to healthcare services is conducting training programs for nurses and midwives in remote areas that the ministry would leave no stone unturned to implement this option.
Hinting at illegal import of low-quality medicine to the country, he said the open borders of Afghanistan has made it difficult to control illegal import of low-quality and sub-standard medicine. “To overcome this problem, the ministry will monitor at least 300 companies that import medicines, and will register nearly 30 qualified companies for importing high-quality medicines.
He vowed to bring reforms in government-owned pharmaceutical industry, and establish partnership between the government and the private sector to import high-quality medicines with reasonable price.
He said that Afghans spend more than $300 million in other countries for treatment, therefore the ministry would pay all out efforts to establish a qualified diagnostic center in upcoming years aimed at decreasing the need for treatment abroad by 50 percent.
Hinting at establishment of ‘Health Sector Revenue Information Database’, the minister said that by this initiative he wants to overcome the endemic corruption in the ministry and provide honest services to the nation.