Family members of patients hospitalized at Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in western Kabul have criticized the facility for a lack of oxygen and medicine at the hospital.
The families state that a number of patients have lost their lives due to the lack of oxygen. According to them, families of patients have also engaged in brawls over oxygen balloons.
Bibi Gul, whose husband is hospitalized at the hospital, says she is concerned that the lack of oxygen will take her husband’s life.
“There are many casualties and these losses are due to a lack of oxygen. From morning to night, ten to twenty patients die. There is a lot of death. When we ask doctors how to get oxygen, they respond it is not in our hands,” said Bibi Gul.
Abdullah, another family member of a patient, also criticized the situation in Ali Janna.
“Access to oxygen is very low. Somedays, we don’t even get it. We go and buy oxygen, but it works for ten minutes after which the patient’s condition deteriorates again,” said Abdullah.
This is not the first time that the lack of oxygen and medicine in Ali Janna and other hospitals in Kabul have been criticized. Patients accuse the government of incompetence and neglect in addressing COVID-19 patients and their conditions.
“Oxygen is short and the balloons don’t contain enough. There are physical fights over this every day. There’s no medicine either, we have to buy it from outside. Medicine that used to cost 50 Afghanis is now 600 Afghanis. There is no one responsible to reach out to,” stated Juma Khan, a patient’s relative.
The Ministry of Public Health has signed an agreement with six oxygen companies to supply the required essential gas. The terms of the agreement include the delivery of 950 oxygen balloons by companies every day to Ali Jannah and Afghan-Japan hospital.
“We even have reserve balloons, so now the problem is solved. The issue of its deficiency ended ten days ago,” said Shafiqullah Shahim, deputy minister of finance and administration.
Beside six private oxygen factories in Kabul, the Ministry of Public Works has also activated the production of a state-owned oxygen factory to address the shortage of oxygen, yet this problem remains unresolved.