Hamoon Clinic, Farah Province
Interim Report, October 2011 - January 2012
date of writing of the report: January 2012
Hamoon Clinic or Health Center is a small medical center in Farah province, situated at the far west of Afghanistan close to the border of Iran. Despite its small size it plays a great role in providing free treatment to the poor people of Farah, as there is no proper government hospital in the province. This medical center was proposed for the first time in 2001. It took more than a year to open the clinic; it was officially inaugurated on 6 August, 2003 but opened to patients two weeks before. During the eight years of its operation Hamoon Health Center has gained a good reputation among the people as it offers free treatment with best medical specialists and free medicine.
The project's main objective is to provide basic health care to Farah people, particularly women and children who have been denied access to proper health care. Since Farah lies at the far west of the country and has seen little attention from aid agencies and government, the need for such a clinic was strongly felt.
Health care in Farah province is terrible. Despite having the largest area of all provinces and a population of around 900,000 people, only one ill-equipped hospital exists in the entire province. People go to major cities like Herat and Kandahar even for minor treatment. Women and children have been the main victims of that lack of facilities. Hundreds of women have been reported to have died from gynaecological diseases.
Hamoon Center is a small health center with two main doctors: one gynecologist and one medical and child specialist. Both together treat around 150 patients per day. All treatments are free, including medicine and doctor's consultation fee. The number of patients visiting the clinic is high, but the number of patients per day is limited through a registration process on arrival.
In Afghanistan's male-dominated society women are rarely shown to doctors by their male family members. Women and children are therefore given precedence over male patients at the Health Center because they are the most vulnerable and needy people and form the main part (95%) of the patients visiting the center.
The clinic has a total of 10 paid staff and 3 volunteers. The employees are: the administrator, two doctors, two nurses (one paid, one a volunteer), two pharmacists (one paid, one a volunteer), two vaccinators (one paid, one a volunteer), a driver, a guard and two cleaners. Doctors are working five hours on six days of the week. The administrator manages and monitors the work in the clinic. He is present in the clinic throughout the day, manages all daily transactions, and acts as the accountant of the clinic.
Almost nine years have gone by since the clinic was first opened to patients and during that period the Health Center has earned a reputation of being the only reliable medical center of the province. As the entire population depended on the ill-equipped state-run hospital, establishment of this clinic was a blessing for them. Unlike the state-run hospital, this clinic offers free treatment and in addition does not charge for medicine. This was another factor why this small Health Center began to receive hundreds of visitors.
People undertake journeys that take hours from very remote villages and waite hours and sometimes days for their turn. Despite the limited number of patients being registered daily, the result and impact of this clinic on the people has been significant. In Afghanistan, particularly in remote areas like Farah, a very great difficulty people are facing is the problem of health care. For most people it is almost impossible to pay the exorbitant doctor fees and medicine charged elsewhere.
Resources needed for this project fall into three categories:
- Human resources. This includes doctors, nurses, vaccilators, administrator, driver, guard and cleaners. They are recruited locally based on their profession. All staff work 6 days a week and follow the national labour law in Afghanistan for their holidays.
- Medicine. Free medicine is being distributed to patients; therefore it makes one of the major expenses of the clinic.
- Fuel. this is required for the clinic's ambulance and its electrical generator. (Farah province does not have electricity, and all people who use electricity depend on generators.)
- Material resources. Maintenance of ambulance and generator is required almost daily, as they are working daily. Other material resources include stationeries, magazines, workshops for staff, heating material, drinking water container, rent and others.
The funds to operate Hamoon Clinic are curently supplied by Planet Wheeler. A grant of $30,000 was provided in October 2011, covering the operating expenses until mid-2012. OPAWC gratefully acknowledges Planet Wheeler's support.