victims of Kabul school bombing
Fatima, a student who got wounded in school bombing in Kabul on May 08.

Wounded victims of school bombing complain of poor health service

Some of the victims of Kabul school bombing complain about poor health services at high-profile government-run hospitals. Fatima, a schoolgirl who was wounded in Kabul school bombing, has undergone three surgeries but her wounds have yet to recover. She says that the third x-ray showed that there was five shrapnel in his feet though surgeons had operated her feet twice. “They operated me for the third time. They had stitched up all my wounds in Aliabad Hospital but [doctors] at Mohammad Ali Jenah Hospital said they shouldn’t have stitched up the wounds”.

She had undergone two surgeries in Aliabad Hospital where doctors took out around 90 shrapnel from her feet. Fatima was hospitalized for three days and discharged from Istiqlal Hospital after bandaging herself there. Her condition got worse two days later while resting at home and her family transferred her back to Istiqlal Hospital but the hospital did not receive her as its personnel were on weekend holidays and asked her family to come back two days later. Later, Fatima was admitted to Mohammad Ali Jenah Hospital with the help of a group providing assistance for victims of Sayed ul-Shuhada High School bombing.

Fatima is not the only wounded victim of the deadly bombing who complains about the required treatment she had to receive from Kabul hospitals in such an urgent and demanding situation. On May 08, as many as 85 civilians, mostly school girls, were killed and more than 240 others wounded as a result of a car bombing followed by two consecutive landmine blasts outside Sayed ul-Shuhada High School in a western neighborhood of the capital Kabul.

Most of the wounded who were transferred to different hospitals close to the bombing site were discharged at the same day in a condition that many had still some shrapnel inside their bodies. Later, a group of volunteer medical doctors gave a helping hand providing treatment for some wounded inside their houses and for some others in hospitals.

Samira, another student of Sayed ul-Shuhada High School, was transferred to the burn ward of Istiqlal Hospital for her hands and face were burnt in the bombing, her father told Kabul Now. But her family was again forced to hospitalize her at another hospital for her situation got worse as she had not received the required treatment for injuries sustained in other parts of her body.

Fatema, an 11th grader at Sayed ul-Shuhada High School, sustained severe injuries on her hands and feet. She received treatment at Mohammad Ali Jenah Hospital but her situation did not improve even 16 days after the treatment. When her family transferred Fatema to the French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children (FMIC), she had to go under surgery because the doctors at FMIC found a shrapnel in her hand and her foot was also cracked.

Some hospitals have not acted adequately in treating the wounded victims and discharged them in an inappropriate situation, said Habibullah Bahram, a volunteer doctor. He remembers a wounded victim who had been hospitalized in [Indira Ghandi] Children Hospital. According to him, the hospital’s doctors had not operated the wounded despite CT scan showed a shrapnel in his head. “This carelessness became very problematic for that patient. Some other patients had also complains about carelessness of doctors in hospitals,” Bahram stated.

Talking to Kabul Now, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health Ghulam Dastagir Nazari admitted that errors were committed since the hospitals faced a huge flow of patients after the school bombing. Panic and turbulence is imminent when a hospital with 10 emergency bed and with a proportionate number of personnel receives more than 60 wounded, Nazari denoted. He added that the service delivery process was also disrupted by the flow of the victim families who numbered around 2,000 on the school bombing day.

Though alike deadly attacks were previously claimed by the Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP), the school bombing went unclaimed. Forced by complains of the victim families and the people, President Ghani declared a national mourning day two days later. The government blamed the Taliban, but the militant group rejected it.

Declaring the national morning day, President Ghani directed the relevant authorities to do their utmost efforts and treat the wounded victims with all their capabilities but shortfalls in providing the required health care services for the wounded victims are evident. Most of the wounded who were discharged from the hospitals were forced to go back days later, said Zahra Yagana, a volunteer who facilitates health care for the wounded victims of the school bombing. “I witnessed the scenes in which women and children referred again to hospitals while having shrapnel in their head, backbone, feet, arms, and even in their stomach and got operated.”

According to the Ministry of Public Health, some hospitals do have leadership problems but the fundamental problem is lack of budget. Major state-run hospitals have three to five million Afghanis budget for service delivery but much of this budget is spent for paying salaries of the medical doctors and other personnel of the hospitals, said the Ministry’s spokesperson.