The Terrible Plight of Afghan Children
Struggles to Provide Decent Healthcare to Children Afghanistan
By TAN EE LYN
Afghan labourer Chaman travelled a whole day to bring his son to
A wounded boy of Tuesday's suicide bombing rests at a hospital in the city of Baghlan, north of Kabul, November 7, 2007. Afghans began three days of national mourning on Wednesday for 41 people, many of them children, killed in the country's worst suicide attack. The attack, in the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan, shakes public confidence in the ability of the Afghan government and the 50,000 foreign troops in the country to provide security more than six years after the Taliban were ousted from power.
The two-year-old boy, who suffered excruciating pain forthree days, finally had the stone removed in a charity hospital funded by
"The private hospitals are only for rich businessmen. Poor people have to use government hospitals and if they can't help, the children die," said the young father from Ghazni province as he unwrapped a piece of paper to show a brown pebble measuring half a centimetre in diameter. Ghazni is southwest of
Foreign donors have given some $15 billion in aid to
Nevertheless, the number of health facilities in
The government says free basic healthcare is available within two hours walking distance to 85 percent of the population, from just 9 percent in 2003. But people say they are far from adequate and decent healthcare is available only to those who can afford to pay, travel to the capital city, or go overseas.