Patients and their relatives report a lack of oxygen in two government hospitals dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients and at some private health centers--a claim that has been rejected by officials.
Last week, an Afghan MP, Fatima Aziz, in a recorded video message complained about lack of oxygen in government hospitals as she was in bed, struggling with the coronavirus.
Relatives of some patients said that in a government hospital in Kabul oxygen balloons are distributed in turns to COVID-19 patients, something that hospital officials have not confirmed.
Relatives of three coronavirus patients were interviewed for this report, among others. All of them said their sick family member faced a lack of oxygen over the last few days.
“Less oxygen is available. All deaths here (at Ali Jinah Hospital) are because of a lack of oxygen. We are fighting to get an oxygen balloon. Her blood pressure goes down whenever I go to get an oxygen balloon for my mother,” said Aziza, a patient’s relative who is under treatment in Ali Jinah Hospital – one of the two government facilities for COVID-19 patients.
“The situation was good for two days last week as we did not have any deaths. But in the last two days, we had over three deaths,” said Nazir, son of a patient.
“Patients have less access to oxygen… My mother was about to die due to lack of oxygen one day (in the hospital),” said Ibrahim, son of a patient.
The Ministry of Public Health reported the highest number of recoveries on Sunday: 2,004. According to ministry data, the coronavirus cases have been reducing over the last four days.
According to the ministry, three companies have been contracted to supply at least 950 balloons of oxygen to Ali Jinah and Afghan-Japan hospitals every day. Some employees and doctors of Ali Jinah Hospital said they receive 150 to 200 balloons a day.
“The problem is in sending oxygen to our hospitals. The Ministry of Public Health calls on contractor companies to supply the required oxygen on time,” said Akmal Samsor, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health.
Data by the Ministry of Public Health shows that so far, 737 people have died from COVID-19 in the country, while unconfirmed data suggest higher number of deaths.