WHAT WAR BRINGS: the destruction of health care in affected countries
PHOTO: At another hospital for refugees in Mardan, signs of disarray are clear. (Emilio Morenatti - AP) This is in Pakistan.
In the years before sanctions and the
I saw a video a few years back of a young child who had a serious open chest wound. The doctors working on him did not have gloves, and for years I looked at photos of patients in hospitals getting medical care without gloves. The hospitals were often filthy, and the floors covered in blood. I have been looking at pictures of what is happening to Iraqis for a few years now, and saved some of them on this blog:
A lot of the pictures were taken in hospitals.
One of the major problems is a shortage of doctors and other medical professionals. I wrote about that in my post on ‘brain drain’ recently.
The Teaching Hospital's emergency room is cleaner than most in
Stories of missing drugs, of desperately ill-equipped doctors and of patients left to suffer the consequences are everywhere in
Snake are leaving their normal habitat because of a drought in southern
The medical centers in these areas also lack the simplest means to take care of those besieged people. There was no anti-venom. No one asks after them. No one really cares.
Over 600,000 Afghans lack basic healthcare services due to attacks on healthcare facilities and health workers - a figure that has doubled since 2007, Abdullah Fahim, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), has said. About 32 health centres were torched, destroyed and/or closed down due to insecurity in 2007, and 28 health facilities were shut down or attacked in 2008, MoPH said.
They are calling on all warring parties to respect the neutrality of health centers. The number of attacks are increasing, per UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, with the decrease in security. The article further states:
has one of the highest maternal and infant (0-12 months) mortality rates in the world, according to WHO. Every hour at least two Afghan women die from obstetric complications due in part to the lack of health services. In each batch of 1,000 live births, at least 125 infants die, and one in five children die from mostly preventable diseases before their fifth birthday, the UN Children’s Fund and the MoPH said in 2008. Afghanistan
Polio is still a problem in
About 200,000 children miss out on polio drops every time the vaccinators conduct a nationwide immunization drive, it said.
“Three things impede polio immunization in
: First the insecurity, second a lack of public awareness, and very low payments to vaccinators,” said Jan Agha, a local health worker. Helmand Province
“The Taliban often oppose vaccinations. They threaten and beat vaccinators and break their vaccination kits… so people don’t want to risk their lives for 150 Afghanis [US$3] a day,” said a vaccinator in Kandahar Province who declined to be named.
Some Afghans are turning to travel to
The lack of quality health services at home is prompting thousands of Afghan patients to travel to
for medical treatment despite the high costs. India
The Indian embassy in
said it had issued 5,224 medical visas in 2008 - up from 4,658 in 2007 and 3,844 in 2006. Kabul
The real number of Afghans going to
Indiafor treatment is higher than these figures suggest, as visas are also issued by four Indian consulates dotted around the country, and some who travel to as tourists seek medical treatment on arrival. India
So, the health care system in
This is just a brief survey of the health care systems of these countries. There has not been a lot of reporting on what is going on with the doctors, hospitals and public health systems. All the articles cited above come from McClatchy’s or from the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. No one else is reporting on it.
And while we were busy spending money to destroy the health care system of
UPDATE: Two more articles
Just noticed this article from 2006:
A new study says
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and are among the countries with the highest death rates for newborns in the world. The study by the U.S.-based independent charity Save the Children says the African nation of Iraq has the world's highest newborn mortality rate, with 65 out of 1,000 babies dying. Liberia
The report says
Liberiais followed by , where 60 out of every 1,000 babies die. Behind them come Afghanistan Iraqand Sierra Leone, with 59 of 1,000 newborns dying, and , which has a rate of 58 deaths. The report says illiteracy, poverty, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and crippled health-care systems are among the factors contributing to the high rates of death among infants and mothers during or soon after birth. Pakistan
And this report on the health care system collapse in
Hospitals have been overwhelmed by more than 2 million refugees from the northwest, where the army is battling Taliban insurgents.
"To tell you honestly, health is not our national priority. It is very unfortunate," says physician Arshad Khan, the health ministry's top official in Mardan, which borders the battle zone. "And now, with this crisis, every smaller hospital is overloaded with displaced people, and our district hospital in Mardan is collapsing."
If you support the continued occupation of