A team of Pakistani engineers and technicians at Kabul will ensure the installation and provision of medical equipment and medicines at 3 hospitals in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan said on Thursday.
The arrival of the team is part of Islamabad’s efforts to help deliver humanitarian aid to Afghanistan where millions are on the brink of famine and to prevent the collapse of the economy and health and education services. The World Health Organization warned last September Afghanistan’s health system was on the edge of collapse, as international funding cuts for the Taliban-led government have made medicines and other healthcare almost unaffordable for the common Afghan.
The Pakistan health ministry announced the visit of the team to Kabul during a meeting of the Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) held two days ago. The AICC is a policy devising and execution body set up as part of the Economic Advisory Council to promote humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.
“The team is here in Kabul to install, assess and provide the required equipment and medicines to the three hospitals built by Pakistan in Afghanistan, including Jinnah Hospital in Kabul, a kidney center in Jalalabad and a hospital in the Logar province,” Khan told Arab News.
During the AICC meeting, it was discussed that though the construction of the three hospitals had been completed, medical equipment still needed to be installed at a cost of Rs2 billion.
Khan said all three hospitals had already started functioning but Pakistan wanted to equip them with better equipment.
Waliullah Shaheen, a senior official at the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed to Arab News that the Pakistani team was in Kabul.
“At this time, our country really welcomes every kind of support, and specifically this cooperation to improve our health sector because we have a harsh winter amid snowfall, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to haunt the people,” he said. “This help is of immense importance and will enable people to get treatment at home instead of traveling abroad.”
He did not share details about what kind of medical equipment would be installed or provided and was not aware how long the team would stay in Afghanistan.
Khan said the maiden visit of Pakistani engineers and technicians would be followed by other such visits in the future so the hospitals could be upgraded further.
“Generally, Afghanistan’s health sector is facing issues but we’ll extend all possible support to make sure the hospitals offer efficient healthcare facilities to Afghans,” the ambassador added.
The initiative is part of a Rs5 billion Humanitarian Assistance Package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan for Afghanistan in November last year.
“PM instructed all ministries to facilitate Afghans to the maximum, ordering immediate shipment of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs.5bn, which will comprise food commodities including 50,000 MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.”