Experts say the most important medical equipment to combat severe cases of COVID-19 is an artificial respiration device, or "ventilator." When the lungs fail completely or have been significantly reduced in their capacity to take in oxygen, a ventilator can still provide oxygen to the body, giving the patient a chance to fight the infection and eventually recover.
But while the spread of the coronavirus in Afghanistan is growing every day, a shortage of artificial ventilation devices is a major problem.
There are only about 300 artificial ventilation devices in Afghanistan, according to Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, and import and exports have stopped due to the coronavirus spread, plus the increased demand around the world is making them very expensive.
“Many COVID-19 patients have breathing problems,” said Suhrab, a doctor.
Herat health officials say the province has the highest number of people infected with the coronavirus, but there are only ten artificial ventilation devices in the province.
“A ventilator is needed to help them breathe artificially,” said Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai, spokesman for Herat health directorate.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in six patients with coronavirus needs serious care and may have breathing problems.
“If the virus is very widespread and most of the poor are infected, health services should be the same (for everyone),” said Ahmad Ali, a resident of Kabul.
The Ministry of Public health says the globalization of the coronavirus has increased the demand for artificial ventilators, and the price of these devices has now risen from $5,000 to $18,000 to $20,000, and in some cases has become scarce.