Following the increase in complaints of lack of oxygen in COVID-19 hospitals in the country, officials of the Ministry of Public Health are warning of “oxygen shortage” and “humanitarian” crises. Ministry officials have also urged people to remember the situation in hospitals in India and other neighboring countries from a few days ago and listen to the health professionals and their advice. The Ministry of Public Health has closed all public and private educational institutions across the country, including schools, institutes, universities, educational courses, religious schools and madrasas, as well as wedding halls, for two weeks from today, Saturday, June 12, due to the spread of the coronavirus. In this regard, the necessary coordination has been done with the relevant ministries and institutions. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health announces an agreement with Iran to import oxygen needed by the western provinces of the country. Accordingly, two oxygen tankers, each with a capacity of 2,000 balloons, are scheduled to enter Herat from Iran every week.
In recent days, complaints of oxygen shortage in COVID-19 hospitals in the country have increased. Residents of a number of provinces are complaining of severe oxygen shortages and are urging health officials to take action to provide oxygen to COVID-19 patients. Concurrent with the oxygen shortages and growing concerns about the lack of beds for COVID-19 patients in most provinces, the Ministry of Public Health has warned that if the people do not take the ministry’s health advice and recommendations seriously, the coronavirus situation in the country will worsen.
“Since the start of the third wave of COVID-19, the Ministry of Public Health has repeatedly stated about restrictions and that the ‘oxygen shortage crisis’ could lead to one of the most dangerous ‘humanitarian crisis,’” Nazir Dastgir Nazari, Health Ministry Spokesperson, told 8 Subh. And the lack of oxygen is felt in all provinces of the country. According to him, so far none of the patients in the country have lost their lives due to lack of oxygen, and to date, the Ministry of Public Health has managed the oxygen shortage issue. He also said that for the provinces of the western part of the country, an agreement has been reached with Iran on the import of oxygen. Nazari added that according to the agreement reached with Iran, two oxygen tankers enter Herat every week, each with a capacity of filling 2,000 balloons of oxygen gas and used for patients in the western provinces of the country.
Recently, following the severe lack of oxygen in Covid-19 Herat Hospital, a number of relatives of patients admitted to this medical center warned of the dangerous consequences of oxygen shortages. Patients admitted to Covid-19 Herat Hospital claim that the reason for the lack of oxygen is the cessation of production in production plants due to the outages of the electricity imported from Iran.
Jilani Farhad, Herat Governor Spokesperson, said that a joint meeting of public health officials, the private sector, the Chamber of Industries, and oxygen producers was held under the guidance of the governor. According to him, local officials in Herat stressed the need for accurate and rapid distribution of oxygen to patients, and the problem is expected to be resolved soon. However, with the beginning of a new wave of coronavirus infections in Herat, the number of patients referred to hospitals has increased and the number of patients and deaths due to this virus has also increased.
On the other hand, the head of the Ministry of Public Health called on the people to remember the situation of hospitals in India and other neighboring countries from just a few days ago and not to take health professions and their advice lightly. The head of the Ministry of Public Health, Waheed Majrooh, warned on Friday, June 11, that Afghanistan was facing difficult times and that the country’s health system was under extreme pressure. According to Majrooh, the neighboring countries had a stronger health system, but because their people did not cooperate, “the spine of their health system broke.” Majrooh emphasized: “Do not wait till the spine of the health system is broken. Instead, stand shoulder to shoulder with health workers, and do not mock our words and messages.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has issued a statement urging residents to take action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Based on this recommendation, the municipality should identify packed neighborhoods and implement appropriate strategies to reduce crowds. The closing of the wedding halls was also extended for two weeks. The ministry further emphasized the distance between worshipers and said that drivers should also observe social distance in their vehicles. Meetings with detainees were also halted, and government employees over the age of 55 and patients were advised to work from home. Officials further stated that government institutions should refrain from implementing programs that violate social distance.
In addition, the Ministry of Public Health emphasized the appropriate distance between the customers of the restaurants and said that funerals and mourning ceremonies should not be held indoors. In the latest case, the Ministry of Public Health has said that people should observe personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus. According to officials, the ministry evaluates coronavirus figures in 34 provinces on a daily basis, and if necessary, restrictions will be announced by the committee to the ministry, and the Ministry of Public Health will impose restrictions in each province as suggested by the Science Committee.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, the third wave of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the country, and the latest official statistics show that 37 Covid-19 patients have died in the country in the past few hours and 1,024 new patients have been identified.