Dr. Atiqullah Halimi the senior paediatrician in charge of the neonatal intensive care unit and their health during the visit of WHO
Dr. Atiqullah Halimi the senior paediatrician in charge of the neonatal intensive care unit during the visit of WHO

Kabul, 25 November 2021 (TDI): The World Health Organization Office in Afghanistan is providing aid to Afghan hospitals, and has visited the Malalay Maternity Hospital, on 22 November. Doctor Saema Sahak, the clinical director of the Malalay Maternity Hospital, in Kabul, and many colleagues expressed the precarious situation on the health system.

HALIMI STATEMENTS AND WHO’s ASSISTANCE 

Sahak, Halimi, and the rest of the team expressed their concerns as their medical duties rise much more than usual, to WHO, on 22 November. Dr. Halimi, who is in charge of the neonatal intensive care unit brings food for the night duty staff because the hospital ran out of food for staff and patients.

Halimi then added that it is proving to be a challenge when it comes to getting supplies, parts, and giving maintenance to the equipment. He then mentioned that the hospital does not have a biomedical engineer or even a maintenance team.

Halimi explained that because of the lack of a maintenance team, even with the proper equipment, the doctors would have no way to repair it. With the Taliban’s takeover, the support from multiple organizations ended, because many international aid workers left.

WHO is currently working to provide the hospital with the necessary resources. Among those resources are cardiotocography to monitor unborn babies’ heart rates, oxygen pressure regulators, and radiant warmers. The organization also supports the hospital with obstetric equipment and intubation sets, as it is a maternity hospital.

WHO’s assistance to Afghanistan.

According to the note, in 15 flights, WHO has sent 266 tonnes of medical equipment to the country. That aid was enough to cover the needs of 2.8 million people in hospitals, in the country. WHO also remarked that in the last decade there has been an increase of women that go for prenatal care, and to give births with skilled midwives.

WHO considers that the challenge now is not only regarding the gains,  to improve that number, to save more lives. Malalay is one of the 4 maternity hospitals and a national recommendation for other reasons.

The first one is that it is a reference for women that suffer from rare and high-risk problems. The second one is that the hospital also helps women that suffer from birth complications. Malalay only has one obstetric fistula unit, under the command of Dr. Nazifa.

Dr. Nazifa mentioned that the patients are not eating the proper food, because their families had to buy them food. Nazifa showed WHO the recovery ward to meet the women that were in recovery.

Most of the staff has not received salaries worth 3 months of work. Many members of the staff, of which most of them are women, are the ones that bring bread to their tables. This is because most of their husbands worked in the public sector, and after the Taliban takeover, they lost their jobs.

MESSAGE OF HOSPITAL DIRECTOR

The hospital director Dr. Fahima Sekandari, expressed her concern about the difficulty of working without their salaries. Sekandari then mentioned that some workers left after the change of regime.

The hospital has lost around 10% of the staff, but most specialists stayed. Dr. Fahima called the international community to support Afghan women and girls, to take care of their health.

WHO’s STORY 

The organization starts the note telling about a newborn baby in the Malalay Maternity Hospital, to refer to the struggles of the doctors to keep the system running. That self-built system is to save premature babies, and also the doctors have to be very careful with the dosages.

Halimi mentioned that some babies need infusion pumps to administer them the substances they need, but the hospital does not have one. He then added that the incubator’s heater was broken so he made one, for the baby. Halimi then expressed that he is more than a doctor these days.

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