A child suffering from pneumonia cries out for her mother
at Jalalabad central hospital,
© Ghulam Rasool Hasas/IRIN
In February, at least 50 children reportedly died of pneumonia at
Despite measures such as an early warning system and attempts at civic education and improving facilities, doctors at both hospitals said that child mortality from pneumonia increased this year because of the cold weather and the increased snow it brought.
Zia Gul’s four-day-old daughter Parastu contracted pneumonia in the cold, windy room of their house in the Koshko Robatsangi district in
“We are very poor people and cannot afford enough wood for the stove,” Gul said. “My room also does not have proper windows and doors, allowing the cold wind to come in. I tried keeping her warm with two or three blankets but she fell sick.”
To get her to the nearest medical facility, Parastu’s family had to walk in snow to the nearest village with cars. In heavy snow, the vehicle they found took two hours to reach the nearest clinic, where doctors said the baby’s condition was serious and told the parents to take her to
Delays in getting medical care often cause deaths. Dr Abdul Qayoum, head of the paediatric ward in the
The hospital sees the deaths of 12 to 15 children due to pneumonia every week, Qayoum said, adding that most of the children were from rural areas. With the onset of pneumonia symptoms, Qayoum said parents often took their children to mullahs (religious teachers) for prayers to be read over them. They would only go to hospitals if the child’s condition deteriorated, by which stage treatment can be difficult.
Tawoos, a woman from Ghorian district, brought her six-month-old son to
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia accounts for 20 percent of all deaths of children under five in developing countries. In
The WHO says basic hospital equipment such as oxygen concentrators, suction machines, nebulizers and oxygen masks are in short supply in the war-ravaged country.
“It is for the Ministry of Public Health to take a decision on this,” Qayoum said. “The people in the rural areas need their doctors and nurses to be trained in diagnosis and they need better healthcare facilities.”
... Payvand News - 3/6/07 ... --