Kabul clinics offering free health services for the needy

KABUL (Pajhwok): Several private health centres in Kabul are providing free services to help the needy — a move welcomed by experts, who want all clinics to follow the humanitarian gesture.
The private centres and hospitals offering free health services include Rahman Clinic in Kart-i-Parwan, Ansar, Al Mansour in Khoshal Khan area, Al Rahman in Khairkhana, Watan, Sara Pa Cheshm Zarif, Shafaq mental disease treatment centre, Dr. Ahmad Fahim Mehrzad, a digestive system and endoscopy specialist.
Pajhwok Afghan News has compiled a report on these health centres. Rahman Clinic in Kart-i-Parwan has announced offering free health services three days a week.
It provides ultrasound, general internal medicine and gynecology services. It treats for free people who economic constraints three days a week.
Dr. Saif-ul-Rahman Pashtun, in charge of the facility, told Pajhwok: “Since the establishment of this clinic, we have been treating patients for free on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
According to him, they are also conducting free diabetes, urology, gynecological and jaundice examinations. He said on other days of the week, they charge 100 afghanis for a urine test, 300 afghanis for ultrasound and 200 afghanis for a jaundice test.
Regarding free health services, Dr Pashtun said: “We are doing this for the good and of the people…we can help poor patients and those with financial problems.”
Ansar Hospital also informed of offering free of charge health services two days a week for those who are economically unstable.
The hospital was established four years ago in Kotal-i-Khairkhana of Kabul. The hospital provides services in areas of internal medicine, pediatric, obstetrics, gynecology, dermatology, skin beauty, orthopedics, general surgery, mental and neurological, ear and through, dental, eye, endoscopy and physiotherapy.
Dr. Abdul Mukhtar Ahmadi, administrative head of the hospital, said this hospital offers free services on Mondays and Thursdays for poor people, widows and people who are facing severe economic problems.
He added in these two days no money was charged for blood, sugar, and liver test.
According to him, no normal days, the doctors’ fee is 200 afghanis and other examinations are done at cost of 400 afghanis.
In addition to two days free service, discount for surgery is also available in the hospital, the source added.
He said most of the widows, families of martyrs, most of them are female, visit the hospital on the specified days.
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The Facebook page of Sera Pa Cheshm-i-Zarif Clinic read it intended to treat financially vulnerable people for free during Ramadan.
The Watan Hospital also wrote pn its social media page: “Following free services at the departments of vaccination, paralysis, TB, oxygen therapy, screening of children under five. Family planning is also included in the free package.”
Dr. Ahmad Fahim Mehrzad, a gastroenterologist, wrote on his Facebook page: “All digestive system patients who have financial problems are informed that I provide free services … during the holy month of Ramadan.”
The Shafaq Mental and Neurological Disease Treatment Centre said it was providing discounts on different medical services.
Patients commended free health services
Wajiha, a resident of Khairkhana area of Kabul, welcomed this step of the Ansar hospital, said: “One of my friends told me that they this hospital provide free of cost health services and I approached here.”
She visited the hospital for a sugar test, saying she had been suffering from the disease for many years. Before the establishment of this hospital, she used to visit other private health centres and pay for every test and check-up.
Sima, a resident of Sar-i-Kotal Khairkhana who visited Ansar Hospital, appreciated the free services: “I came here today to check my lipid level. Previously, I would pay 500 afghanis for this test at other clinics.”
She appreciated the hospital and hoped it would emerge as a template for other private medical facilities. Many people were facing economic hardships and could not afford medical treatment, she believed.
Experts also praised the provision of free health services by some private hospitals as a philanthropic act.
Abdullah Kakar Nisari, an expert on political and social issues, told Pajhwok: “Some clinics and hospitals providing free services are doing a commendable job. They have set is an example of humanitarian activity. People of our country are economically unstable.”
Dr. Sharafuddin Azimi, professor of the Psychology Department at the Kabul University of Education and Training, hailed these services of private hospitals.
He commented: “Free health services can be in two directions — positive and negative. Some families cannot afford to get treatment, but patients have to take medicine or borrow or beg. Such patients should be introduced to clinics and hospitals for free treatment.”
He also noted a negative aspect to free health services, saying it created problems. The priority of sound health was undermined, as the result of free services was often dissatisfactory, he argued.
Dr Fardin Gharman, a surgeon and head of Afghanistan’s Private Hospitals Association, said: “Private hospitals are always committed to the people and offer them effective services. Seventy percent of health services are related to the private sector.”
He acknowledged many private hospitals in Kabul offered free health services one or two days a week, considering people’s weak economic situation.
He commended the gesture of private medical facilities, hoping other hospitals and clinics across the country would treat the needy people in a similar way.