Mazar’s main hospital to be rebuilt
8 April 2009 - Plans are underway in Mazar-i-Sharif for the rebuilding of the city’s main hospital which burnt down two years ago.
On 19 September 2006 a sudden fire from an electrical spark in the wiring system of the hospital swept through the central building. Within a few hours the fire had engulfed the single-storey building. From kilometres away the people of Mazar could see the hospital burning as the huge flames rose up into the night sky.
The evacuation of the hospital was completed without any casualties, but fire-fighters from the city and the International Security Assistance Force were unable to control the raging fire.
“The fire could not be stopped. But we are happy that all the personnel of the hospital rushed into the rooms and evacuated the patients and every important document and machine. Nothing was left for the fire to burn except the building,” said Ahmad Zia the compound manager of the hospital.
Patients were taken into emergency tents after the incident and others were transferred to a military hospital. Whilst the central building in the hospital compound was destroyed the surrounding medical facilities survived.
The ruins of the 1960s hospital in the heart of Mazar, which could care for 300 patients at a time, have been visible for more than two years now until a reconstruction plan was approved to build a new hospital.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry has announced a 12 million Euros plan (more than US$ 16 million) to construct a new building on the same location. The project will be managed by the German Development Bank (KfW) and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2011. The new 14,000 square metres building will be able to accommodate 360 patients at any one time with seven operating rooms and 21 intensive care unit beds.
Every year Mazar’s hospital cares for some 30,000 patients including thousands from the surrounding provinces where the medical care the hospital can provide is not widespread. “The service is great here, the hospital staff received us without any delay and all the services are very good. We don’t have such a medical facility in my province,” said Abdul Saboor from Samangan who was visiting his brother at the hospital.
This year World Health Day, which is marked every year on 7 April, is highlighting health facilities and staff in emergencies by showing the importance of investing in health infrastructures that are able to withstand natural hazards, conflicts or a deteriorating situation.
By Sayed Barez, UNAMA