Afghanistan’s power dependency takes its toll on hospitals

Afghanistan’s power dependency takes its toll on hospitals

Doctors in northern Afghanistan are struggling to cope with more frequent power cuts this winter that have highlighted the country’s dependence on electricity supply from Central Asian states.

The electricity board, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (Dabs), says it gives priority to hospitals at times of reduced power supply, but doctors in two northern provinces said extended power cuts last week severely affected services despite having backup generators.

“On Wednesday, we didn’t have power the whole day. Then on Thursday, we had about 10 hours of power. But today again we haven’t had power all day,” a doctor at a private hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, told The National.

“We are managing the problem by using the hospital generator. However, we can’t use a lot of equipment on generator at the same time, so we have to decide which emergency is more important.

“Also, fuel has been getting expensive and it is not an affordable method of running a hospital. Unless the power issue is resolved soon, we will not be able to continue like this. And I am aware other hospitals are suffering similarly.”

The doctor, who has not been identified for his safety, said there were more power cuts than usual this year.

“We hardly faced any power cuts in Mazar. Yes, in wintertime there were shortages, but not like this. The most we would lose power in previous winters was for 30 minutes to an hour a day.”

Read full report on The National