Amid coronavirus spread when patients are dying in lack of oxygen support, corrupt officials in Afganistan managed to smuggle 32 ventilators to neighbour Pakistan. According to Pajhwok Afgan News, they received audio clips and photographs of the ventilators that have been smuggled to Peshawar. The whole operation was carried out using the messaging app WhatsApp.
The documents received by Pajhwok show that the ventilators were manufactured by Beijing Aeonmed Co, Ltd., which is known for its medical equipment. One person in the audio clip mentioned that the S-100 model ventilators were stolen from the Public Health Ministry of Afghanistan. He added that if MoPH Afghanistan needs these ventilators, they can sell them back to them, but they should not learn the actual price of these models.
Pajhwok came in contact with an Afghan businessman who is trying to buy back these ventilators. He said, “I am negotiating the purchase of these ventilators. Even I have negotiated the price. We want 15, but they stressed we should buy all of them. So far, nothing is decided.”
Ventilators are essential in the treatment of serious patients of Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization, one out of six patients faces respiratory problems while recovering from coronavirus. Public Health Ministry Advisor and spokesperson, Akmal Samsor, said they are investigating the issue. Those who are involved in the smuggling will be dealt with as per the law.
Afghanistan facing acute shortage of ventilators
The ventilators meant for the patients in Afghanistan have been smuggled to Pakistan at a time when several people have lost their battle against the disease due to the lack of ventilators in the country. There are only 336 ventilators currently available in Afghanistan, and they need more ventilators and experts who can operate them. Samsor added to his statement that China provided four ventilators, Iran three, Turkey three and WHO delivered 27 with the support of World Bank.
MoPH hiding the exact number of ventilators in the country
Acting Public Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Usmani recently said that there is no shortage of ventilators. However, there was a lack of oxygen that they are sorting out. According to some reports, Afghanistan has received medical support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia. Still, the administration is not providing details about the help they have received from these countries.
The health officials in Afghanistan have complained about the lack of Facilities. Mohammad Tawoos Ashraf Naderi, Kandahar Public Health Director, said that they only have two ventilators that are not enough for the patients. The province needs 50 more ventilators, technical workers and professionals to ensure everyone gets much need medical attention. The case is similar with almost every province in the country.