Responding to COVID-19 in Afghanistan

by French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children
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Responding to COVID-19 in Afghanistan
Responding to COVID-19 in Afghanistan
Responding to COVID-19 in Afghanistan

Responding to Covid-19 in Afghanistan

According to WHO, about 80% of the Afghanistan population are prone to COVID-19 pandemic with over 200 thousand of them needing critical care. From January 2020 to July 2021, there have been 131,586 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5,561 deaths. Only around 100 thousand doses of vaccines have been administered as of 6 July 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic is another cruel blow for millions of Afghans already dealing with the constant threat of violence, displacement, food insecurity and poverty. We’re seeing large numbers of people having to make terrible choices between finding a way to feed their families and growing risks of getting sick.

As of June 2021, a new surge of COVID-19 has reached a crisis point as infections and deaths are spiraling out of control, threatening to engulf the country’s fragile health system. Hospital beds are full in many areas across the country and oxygen supplies cannot keep up.Infection rates have skyrocketed by around 2,400 per cent in the past month. Across Afghanistan, 34 per cent of tests returned positive results last week according to government authorities, pointing to many thousands of undiagnosed infections.

The project is aimed at providing diagnostic and preventive COVID-19 services through our tertiary hospital and community based collaborative care networking in Kabul. We are aimed to raise awareness among masses besides enhancing our capacity such as technical training and critical resources to deal with the pandemic effectively.

FMIC is a nonprofit hospital located in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is a product of a four-way unique partnership between Government of Afghanistan, Government of France, French International NGO Lachaine Delespoir and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). For the past 15 years, FMIC has been serving Afghans while focusing on quality services, innovation and building capacities in terms of human resources and technology. FMIC ensures that no patient leaves the hospital untreated due to lack of money. FMIC’s Patient Welfare Program has been in place since the establishment of the hospital and has helped over 600,000 needy patients with services worth over US$ 42 million.

 

For many patients, even a $10 expense is an obstacle to healthcare. Imagine that just a few dollars contributed by you can help save a life. A donation of $10 will pay for an initial visit to a doctor, $15 will pay for one-night stay of a patient in general ward, $65 will pay for one night stay of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit. 

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Vaccination Picture
Vaccination Picture

Saving Lives at FMIC during Covid-19 Pandemic

This report is in continuation of previous report responding to COVID-19 in Afghanistan, which mainly focuses on how to reduce the COVID-19 effects on people with the collaboration of Ministry of Public Health, FMIC will provide free vaccination for the 3 category group who are Medical Staff, Teachers and Media Staff.

Report Focus:

The project will focus on reducing the impact of COVID-19 through proper vaccination, awareness raising and capacity building. For the people as there are some rumors about the side effects of the vaccine and the FAQs. FMIC will provide vaccination for these 3 category people. Besides that, FMIC will raise awareness among local communities to be stronger and to come for the vaccination when their turn arrives, this should not be a challenge.

Introduction about FMIC:

FMIC is product of a four-way unique partnership between two governments and two international NGOs including the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). For the past 14 years, FMIC has been serving the healthcare needs of Afghans while focusing quality services, innovation and building capacities in terms of human resources and technology.

People affected and Died during Covid-19:

According to Aljazeera news in August last year, a health ministry survey revealed that 10 million people – nearly a third of the country’s population – had been infected with the coronavirus.
The country of 32 million people has limited testing capacity, but recent months have seen a decline in new infections, with officials registering more than 55,300 confirmed cases so far and nearly 2,400 deaths.

People Vaccinated at FMIC till date:

Till today FMIC has vaccinated 667 staff with the first dose of the vaccine which was donated from the Ministry of Public Health, vaccine name is AstraZeneca 0.5ML.

Challenge during the pandemic:

COVID-19 has had grave consequences for people’s health and income, and the cost of basic essentials has increased dramatically, leaving at least a third of the population faced with food shortages and malnutrition on the rise. Afghanistan now has the second highest number of people in crisis or emergency food insecurity (16.9 million people) and close to one in two children under the age of five are predicted to face acute malnutrition this year.

FMIC ensures that its quality services are accessible to all in a resource-blind fashion.

Your Kind Contribution:

Your little contribution is a ray of hope for many Afghans who have difficulties accessing a high quality healthcare facility mainly due to lack of money. FMIC makes sure that your generous contribution is spent in the most appropriate manner to support those patients who come from very weak financial backgrounds.

Patient Welfare Program at FMIC:

The Patient Welfare Program is in place since the establishment of FMIC and has so far supported patients in need with a financial impact of over 40 Million USD. The journey continues.
On a daily basis, FMIC ensures that no patient leaves the hospital untreated because of lack of money. For many patients, even a $10 expense is an obstacle to healthcare. Envision a child or mother suffering from life-threatening diseases in an impoverished and war-affected zone. Imagine that just a few dollars contributed by you can help save lives and improve quality of life for many. For example, $10 will pay for an initial visit to a doctor, $15 will pay for one-night stay of a patient in general ward, $65 will pay for one night stay of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit.  We do appreciate your continued support and cooperation! 

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Swab sampling at Covid-19 testing Unit FMIC
Swab sampling at Covid-19 testing Unit FMIC

For the past 14 years, FMIC has been serving the healthcare needs of Afghans while focusing quality services, innovation and building capacities in terms of human resources and technology. FMIC is product of a four-way unique partnership between two governments and two international NGOs including the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

For the past 20 years, AKDN is supporting the Government of Afghanistan to unlock the tremendous human capacity and natural resources that exist is this country- through a multi-input approach, combining economic development, health, education, strengthening communities, and restoring cultural heritage sites. In February 2020, when faced with the impending pandemic that COVID-19 was expected to become, it was only natural that our response would leverage the multi input platforms that already existed. Recognizing that the health care systems in every part of the world were struggling, we anticipated that the still developing health care system in Afghanistan would face considerable challenges in coping with the pandemic. Our immediate response was to follow the governments lead in terms of its COVID response and planning, and also follow World Health Organization and AKDN global advisories. It was clear very early on that prevention and stopping the spread were going to be key for Afghanistan. Initial planning started by focusing on safe-guarding our large work-force in Afghanistan, followed by pivoting all AKDN agencies towards prevention messaging.

We adapted the AKDN global framework to the Government’s 8 pillar framework and worked closely with the Ministry of Public Health to ensure that our response supported their efforts. We were able to do many things together, for example, opening a COVID testing lab at French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children (FMIC) and accelerating capacity in Bamyan and Badakhshan, the two provinces where Aga Khan Health Services manages health care under Sehatmandi, for anticipated COVID critical care needs.

As with many hospitals around the world, FMIC did not have the capacity to fully convert into a specialized infectious disease specialty that would be required to manage COVID. It immediately developed digital and print COVID-19 precautions and awareness campaigns. This was shared across all FMIC and AKDN platforms, in a variety of local languages. Over 150,000 people, including staff across the AKDN, benefited through this initiative. To protect patients coming to the hospital for regular treatment and services, FMIC developed pre-triage infection control facilities at two entrance points to hospital. This has kept FMIC COVID-19 free, with patients with symptoms being referred to other hospitals with specialized COVID facilities. The FMIC special Infection Controlmeets daily to assess situation. In late May, FMIC inaugurated new testing lab in partnership with MoPH and WHO Afghanistan to support testing capacity in Afghanistan. Later, once non-government hospitals were permitted to treat COVID patients, FMIC established a small 20 bed COVID treatment facility in a separate compound, maintaining the main hospital as a COVID-free facility. In partnership with AKU, WHO Afghanistan and MoPH, provided in person and on-line training to staff at various hospitals including the Afghan Japan hospital, at the request of Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

While much emphasis was placed on COVID, FMIC was called upon to undertake a very difficult surgery. Nafisa (pseudonym), a four-hour baby was shot in the leg at an attack on a maternity hospital. She was brought to FMIC where a team worked to save her. In the process, this team had to create knowledge about treatment of infants in war zones, and is currently completing an article on this.

FMIC ensures that its quality services are accessible to all in a resource-blind fashion. The Patient Welfare Program is in place since the establishment of FMIC and has so far supported patients in need with a financial impact of around 40 Million USD. The journey continues.

Your little contribution is a ray of hope for many Afghans who have difficulties accessing a high quality healthcare facility mainly due to lack of money. FMIC makes sure that your generous contribution is spent in the most appropriate manner to support those patients who come from very weak financial backgrounds.

On a daily basis, FMIC ensures that no patient leaves the hospital untreated because of lack of money. For many patients, even a $10 expense is an obstacle to healthcare. Envision a child or mother suffering from life-threatening diseases in an impoverished and war-affected zone. Imagine that just a few dollars contributed by you can help save lives and improve quality of life for many. For example, $10 will pay for an initial visit to a doctor, $15 will pay for one-night stay of a patient in general ward, $65 will pay for one night stay of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit.  We do appreciate your continued support and cooperation!  

FMIC Covid-19 Treatment Unit
FMIC Covid-19 Treatment Unit
Opening of Covid-19 testing center at FMIC
Opening of Covid-19 testing center at FMIC

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Opening of Covid-19 testing center at FMIC
Opening of Covid-19 testing center at FMIC

As part of its covid-19 response FMIC has been closely working with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and other partner organizations to train frontline healthcare workers in infection prevention and control, and clinical knowledge and practice. FMIC also collaborated with MoPH and WHO-Afghanistan in performing free PCR based Covid-91 tests for samples referred by MoPH. For the hospital team; patients, visitors and communities at large, FMIC developed a range of resources including posters, audio-visual aids, SMSs and social media posts in local languages to raise awareness about the pandemic and precautionary measures to flatten the curve.

We are encountering unprecedented situations in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the context of Afghanistan, the circumstances are even more challenging due to four decades of continuous conflict, unrest and uncertainties. Healthcare system in Afghanistan is highly fragile and its capacity to deal with a pandemic of this scale is very limited. When it comes to tertiary healthcare, the challenges are even bigger and more daunting. For the last fourteen years, FMIC stands as a ray of hope and safe haven for patients coming from different provinces of Afghanistan. Due to the lockdown situations in the last few months, a number of patients have found it hard to access the hospital; yet in a desperate situation FMIC remains a hospital of choice owing to its state of art technology, highly qualified doctors and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Despite many challenges, FMIC has achieved remarkable success over the past 14 years. In 2009, it became the first hospital in Afghanistan to be ISO certified whereas the first open heart surgery was performed by indigenous doctors at FMIC in 2010. Since 2011 it has annually sponsored an international scientific conference as well as a quality and patient safety convention, both of which showcase Afghan health professionals’ high capacity for critical thinking. The Post Graduate Medical Education Program (PGME) is a flagship program of FMIC established in 2012, with the support of the Aga Khan University (AKU) and Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). The programme has so far graduated 57 physician specialists whereas 25 are currently enrolled in three to five-year programmes in eight disciplines. Five of those programmes – such as anaesthesiology, cardiac surgery, cardiology, pathology and radiology – are not offered anywhere else in Afghanistan. Moreover, healthcare access to patients in remotest areas for tele-consultation and training of human resources has been ensured through eHealth program since 2007.

FMIC has so far served over 1.39 million patients from all parts of Afghanistan through its in-patient and out-patient services. In diagnostics, 4.1 million Laboratory Tests and 0.73 Million Radiology Procedures have been performed thus far. FMIC’s Patient Welfare Programme underwrites the cost of care for people who cannot afford to pay for all or part of their treatment. During the year 2019 alone, 42,598 patients were supported through patient welfare program with a financial contribution of US$ 2.3M by FMIC. Since FMIC’s inception in 2006 to date FMIC’s Patient Welfare Program has spent over $39 million so far in providing the medical and surgical care to those in critical need.

We are highly grateful to the generosity of our donors for their support to the patient welfare which ultimately helps us serve the most deserving and deprived segments of the society. 

Envision a child or mother suffering from life-threatening diseases in an impoverished and war-affected zone. Imagine that just a few dollars contributed by you can help save lives and improve quality of life for many. For example, $10 will pay for an initial visit to a doctor, $15 will pay for one-night stay of a patient in general ward, $65 will pay for one night stay of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit.  We do appreciate your continued support and cooperation!  

PCR based testing facility at FMIC
PCR based testing facility at FMIC
MoPH Nurses getting training on Covid-19
MoPH Nurses getting training on Covid-19
Front-line healthcare workers trained at FMIC
Front-line healthcare workers trained at FMIC

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Organization Information

French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children

Location: Kabul - Afghanistan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FMICKabul
Project Leader:
Sultan Ahmed
Kabul, Afghanistan
$2,677 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
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