Daikundi Province Runs Out of Medical Supplies

By Alias Tahiri

Locals report that the World Bank has cut off aid to the health sector in the Daikundi province of Central Afghanistan. Sources say that some health centers are already short of medicine, adding that about half of the staff at the health centers are not on duty.

A source in the Daikundi health sector told 8am on condition of anonymity that the World Bank, the main donor to the Health Project, had suspended its aid. About 50 days have passed since the suspension of World Bank aid, and so far, the organization has not been convinced to resume aid to the health sector. According to the source, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), which implements the health project in Daikundi province, has postponed all its purchases and supplies after the World Bank’s aid was suspended.

According to the source, the health centers supported by the health project are now “semi-active” and the MoPH does not provide ambulance services to transport patients from one center to another. The source said that there is no purchase of subsistence for patients and health care workers in medical centers, adding that supplies are also running out in all centers.

Mass Desertions

Meanwhile, another source in the health department in Daikundi province said that nearly half of health workers do not attend their jobs due to unclear job prospects and non-payment of their salaries. According to him, many employees do not show up for work, but they have not officially resigned yet.

“Almost half of the health workers have left their jobs and are not coming to work,” the source added. “Because there is no subsistence for employees and medicine supplies are running low.”

According to the source, 58 medical centers are covered by the health project, and medicine is running out in almost all of these centers. In addition, the salaries of health workers in Daikundi province have not been paid for about three months. Given the circumstances, it is almost impossible to continue working.

According to the source, hospitalization centers in and around the districts are now virtually paralyzed and unusable. A total of twelve hospitals have been closed in the districts. The reason was that there were not enough medicines for the patients and the livelihood of the health staff. In addition, power outrage and a lack of fuel for the generators have paralyzed these medical centers. The source added that the irregularities have disrupted the medical staff. Therefore, the medical system in Daikundi province has practically collapsed.

The Global Fund Is Stepping in

The Global Fund is currently set to pay just one month for health workers’ salaries and equipment for Daikundi clinics. This is a temporary solution, and the future of the health sector in Daikundi is still uncertain.

Winter fuel was purchased for clinics and other medical centers in Daikundi districts in early autumn. This year, however, this has not yet been done due to the suspension of the health project budget.

On the one hand, the cold winter is coming, and on the other hand, extreme poverty in the province has doubled the people’s concerns. The sources warn that if the issues in the health sector continue to exist like this, maternal and child mortality and malnutrition will increase.

It should be noted that the health project is the backbone of the health sector in the country. This project, however, was suspended due to recent political and military developments. However, sources say the Health Nest project, which covers 58 shelters in remote and rural areas of Daikundi, continues as before. These sanatoriums provide medical care only for mothers and children under the age of five.

There are more than 140 health centers in Daikundi province. According to the provincial public health department, 40% of these medical centers lack buildings. These centers provided health services in rented buildings in the previous government.

Inadequate transportation infrastructure, especially in winter, is one of the main challenges in providing health services in the mountainous region of central Afghanistan. Health sources in Daikundi say that if measures are not taken to address these problems quickly, the number of maternal and child deaths will increase dramatically with the coming winter and the closure of transportation routes.