To the editor:

Let’s discuss people who don’t know about COVID-19. Afghanistan suffers from a lack of health care workers and equipment. The people and government are poor. No one can afford to stay home to quarantine. People go to work to survive. Even middle class people cannot buy safety items because they are expensive due to the pandemic. Poor people don’t have money to buy food. How can they buy face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer? People aren’t educated; they don't understand social distancing.

Most frightening is that hospitals don't have proper equipment. When a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 arrives at hospital, caregivers don’t have equipment to protect themselves before helping patients. In one case, a doctor died because of this. He was treating patients, contracted coronavirus, and his family got the virus through him. He died and 45 members of his family are still fighting the virus.

Another issue is phlebotomy in Afghanistan. When a patient has a blood test, we don’t have lab equipment to process it. After drawing blood, healthcare workers send it to Kabul. It takes 3-10 days to get results. While waiting, it is possible that the patient gets COVID-19. When the result finally arrives, it’s a false negative. The patient will happily go home and their family will get the virus.

Afghanistan needs help with COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. Who will take action? Who will help people that don’t even know what coronavirus is?

Pare and Friba Qutubzad




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