The number of patients suffering from cancer has increased across the country, the Ministry of Public Health said, adding that more than 10,000 patients have been referred to cancer centers over the past five months.
The rise of cancer cases comes as Afghanistan is facing a shortage of medical equipment in a weakened health sector that plunged into crisis due to the dire economic situation in the country.
According to the MoPH, the numbers of patients referred to the cancers centers are as follows:
2,572 patients in Hamal 1401 (solar year)
2,048 patients in Saur 1401 (solar year)
2,472 patients in Jawza 1401 (solar year)
2,320 patients in Saratan 1401 (solar year)
2,421 patients in Asad 1401 (solar year)
“We are trying to establish good hospitals for cancer treatment, where all procedures and equipment will be provided. First, we are trying to provide the already existing centers with better equipment,” said Sharafat Amerkhail, a spokesman for the MoPH.
Bibi Hawa, 50, is one of the patients suffering from stomach cancer. She has been hospitalized in Jamhoriat hospital in Kabul.
“I ate food and then was throwing it up ... In the morning I went to a doctor in Kunduz… they referred me to a doctor and then he referred me to the capital Kabul,” she said.
Meanwhile, some of the patients are complaining about the shortage of medicine in the hospitals.
“They said the medicine levels are decreased. This time also, they are going to give me a prescription costing 10,000 Afs,” said Qudratullah, a patient.
“We don’t have the city scan machines. The patients are taking this operation out of the hospital. Normal medicine is being provided inside the hospital for the patients but we, unfortunately, don’t have cancer medicines. It is also expensive. The patients buy it from outside,” said Zabiullah Hashimi, head of the cancer department of the hospital.
The doctors called air pollution the main reason for the increase in cancer in the country.