Noburja, Afghanistan l August 23, 2013
Dr. Abdul Qayum, Deputy Medical Director for the Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital, talks about the problems children face in rural Afghanistan. He himself commutes to his Kabul Hospital, as an employee of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), from Logar Province which has been overrun with violence. If his shift continues past 6 pm, he sleeps in Kabul, missing his wife and three daughters in Logar to avoid the perils of traveling at night.
“If a child survives birth, they then battle hygiene problems. And if parents know to take the child to get vaccinations, and they travel the long, sometimes dangerous road to get them, then they may survive a little longer. When they can walk and run, there are other health hazards like illness from playing in irrigation canals which contain runoff and sewage. And then, when they get sick, the roads are dangerous at night. Very few can afford the danger or the taxi to hospitals when they live away from Kabul. Many of the children who die have simple problems with diarrhea, dehydration and malnutrition that go untreated.”