22-year-old Sharifa is one of the thousands of Afghan mothers struggling to overcome the hurdles that are posed by a healthcare system weakened by decades of war, poor facilities, and social and cultural barriers that are difficult to break.
“The afternoon is almost over, but days here don’t end when the sun goes down: at night, work in the hospital gets even more intense and the patients never stop arriving. Those who are referred here from one of our First Aid Posts, those who were wounded in the city, those who travelled across half of Afghanistan by car, injured, to reach our hospital. Our hospital in #Kabul serves a very extended area and is the reference hospital for war wonds.
All of the provinces that surround Kabul have an EMERGENCY NGO First Aid Post, which is part of the health network we have created.
This approach works. This works really well. I’m thinking about Ghazni, for example: it is one of provinces where fighting is more intense, and every time I see our ambulance from there arrive at the hospital transporting a patient on a backboard with oxygen, accompanied by a nurse who is taking care of him during the transport. Every time I am reminded of all the work we have done to create this system, the successes we have achieved, and how all of this is revolutionary in a country where a large part of the population have difficulties in accessing the treatment they need.
It’s the beginning of August. I’m at my computer, compiling the statistics for the month of July.
The numbers I see are surprising. We worked a lot last month, I knew that, but I truly didn’t realise how much: 362 wounded and recovered patients, another 77 who returned to complete their treatment. More than 400 people, patients, wounded… entered our system this month and more than 1,000 operations were carried out. Somehow it is sad and discouraging: I’ve been in Afghanistan for six years and this is one of the worst months ever.
Yet, a part of me is satisfied. An excellent group of people have made it so that everything works like clockwork, flawlessly, with no mistakes. Nurses, surgeons, physiotherapists, electricians, radiology technicians… everyone is passionate, everyone is always ready to go the extra mile.
These are the people that made something that seemed unattainable become possible.
So, today I just want to celebrate these people, this passion.
Today I want to forget, only for a moment, the horrors of war.
Today I just want to go home and be satisfied.
But war isn’t listening to me, it doesn’t stop, the wounded continue to arrive.
I’d better put aside my satisfaction and get back to work.”
Michela, Medical Coordinator in #Kabul, Afghanistan