KABUL: Afghanistan’s Taliban-led Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has said that each year, 23,000 Afghans are diagnosed with cancer and about 16,000 die of the disease, Afghanistan-based News agency Khaama Press reported.
Doctor Sidiq Hashimi, a senior at the cancer control centre, said that three cancer treatment facilities currently exist in Kabul, Herat and Balkh provinces of Afghanistan.
Jamhoriat Hospital is the only cancer treatment centre in Kabul with 60 beds, while Herat and Balkh cancer treatment centres have 15 beds, respectively, according to Khaama Press.
According to officials, the number of cancer cases in Afghanistan has been increasing compared to last year.
Most of the cases reported were of breast cancer. Men mainly had throat cancer, and the reason was the use of chemicals, lengthy wars and the use of different weaponry in the country, said Sharafat Zaman, a Taliban spokesperson.
A review of Afghanistan’s cancer care needs was conducted by The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for treating cancerous patients in Afghanistan in 2018.
The mission by the IAEA found that amidst the deterioration of security, the country lacks health care and facilities to diagnose and treat cancer cases, according to Khaama Press.
“Diagnostic and treatment equipment is also insufficient to cover the country’s needs, and there is a significant lack of qualified medical personnel, such as pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and technicians, to provide adequate cancer care.”, IAEA stated, as quoted by Khaama Press.
Most cancer patients either pass away or seek treatment in nearby countries.
Local residents of Afghanistan’s Ghor Province, recently warned that if the Taliban-led Health Ministry keeps ignoring the ongoing crisis in the healthcare sector the patients will die. The already critical situation has worsened due to the Taliban’s ban on women working as there are no female doctors or caretakers for patients, the Khaama Press reported quoting local sources.
A resident of Tolak District, Obidullah, complained about the shortage of medicine and healthcare facilities at the district’s clinic. He said that in previous years, patients used to get medicines from the clinic, which has now been cut short.
This may be because of the winter in the province resulting in snowfall that blocks the key roads that connect the Ghor to other major cities like Kabul and Herat.
There is also a major scarcity of female doctors and specialists, which needs to be addressed. The Khaama press report further mentions according to sources, only two female doctors serve at the provincial hospital of this province. Obstetric and gynaecological patients do not get the proper treatment and face serious risks while giving birth. (ANI)