Nurses At $US600,000 Afghan Hospital Forced To Bathe Newborns In Untreated River Water

A recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction(SIGAR) found a $US600,000 Salang hospital without running water, where nurses literally had to wash newborn infants in untreated river water.

The hospital, built through a contract with a Afghan construction company, was meant to be a modern facility providing care to the remote Salang area.

Instead, the SIGAR report notes:

“The contract’s statement of work required the drilling of a water well, construction of a well house, and the establishment of a process to ensure that hospital water lines were disinfected. However, we found that the water well was not provided. Instead, the hospital uses a small generator and small pipe to pump water from a nearby river to a holding tank in the hospital’s attic. The water is then gravity fed through pipes when needed in the hospital. Hospital staff told us that, as a result, patients, including newborn infants, are washed in untreated river water.”

Clean water is an upmost priority for any hospital. This lack of even basic services, leading to newborn babies being washed in untreated water, is a complete mess.

Multiple other failings are also noted in the report, such as a lack of electricity and furniture necessary to provide a full range of care for patients. Even the most basic of machinery, such as X-Ray machines, are inoperable due to missing pieces and a lack of electricity to power them.

These humanitarian failings could not come at a worse time. Support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to record lows. More worryingly still, Afghanistan is also planning on releasing 72 dangerous Taliban insurgents in the wake of US troop withdrawals.

With US troops slated to leave the country in 2014, the country is still a complete mess and will unfortunately likely only get worse.

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