KABUL -- A charity that provides free health services in Afghanistan says that its patient load has almost doubled from growing economic problems in the country.
Doctors in Kabul established Daricha Sehat (Window of Health) in 2017 to give free treatment to patients who cannot afford to pay for medical services.
The charity has established two clinics in Kabul and deploys mobile teams to visit poor neighbourhoods, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in various locations, and Bamiyan and Maidan Wardak provinces every month to provide medical services to impoverished patients.
The number of impoverished patients in the country has increased lately, said Dr. Shoaib Shaban, director of Daricha Sehat.
"With the deteriorating economic situation where most [Afghans] cannot find food, the number of poor patients and visitors has certainly increased manifold," he said.
"For example, we used to see 30-40 patients per day, but now it has gone up to 50-80 patients per day in different departments."
The cost of treatment for these patients -- including tests and medicine -- is paid by members of the charity and philanthropists, according to Shaban.
The organisation was created to provide free medical and specialised services to impoverished patients and those who lack access, Shaban said.
Daricha Sehat also raises awareness on the prevention of various diseases in underprivileged and remote areas of the country, he added.
"More than 40 medical doctors are members of this team ... including general physicians, gynaecologists, pediatrics, ENT, orthopaedic, neuropsychologists, dentists, midwives, nurses, lab specialists, pharmacists and psychologists," he said.
Treating thousands of patients
Since its establishment in 2017, the organisation has treated almost 37,000 patients, said Shaban.
"More than 5,000 have also received psychotherapy," Shaban added.
Khadija, 45, a resident of the 13th district of Kabul city, was treated by Daricha Sehat's doctors.
"I had been suffering from abdominal pain and burning for years ... and sometimes nausea and dizziness," she told Salaam Times.
"I could not afford medical treatment because of economic problems; therefore, my medical problem was not diagnosed," she said.
"After visiting the Daricha Sehat charity clinic and having an ultrasound, i was diagnosed with a lump in my abdomen," she added.
"I was treated by the Daricha Sehat doctors for five months. All of the checkups were free; they even provided me with free medicine," Khadija said.
Khadija said she was admitted to a private hospital with the support of Daricha Sehat, and her operation was done for free. She has fully recovered by now.
"My husband is dead, and I have four children. If the charity had not treated me, I never could have afforded it. I would have had to endure the pain or would have died by now."
"The doctors who established Daricha Sehat have fulfilled their religious and moral responsibility toward their people," said Mohammad Rasool Akbari, a local elder and community representative (wakil-e-guzar) in the sixth district of Kabul city.
"No responsible and conscientious person can turn a blind eye to the plight of the impoverished," he told Salaam Times.
"We have to join hands and help each other."