Health center in Nangarhar, photo credit: Integrity watch
Rahmanullah, who was trained and supported by civil society organizations active in Nangarhar Province, monitors Chaparhar District Health Centre twice a week and checks if the centre functions properly including if it provides the necessary health services to visitors. In October 2020, he found out that that doctors refer the patients to private health providers outside the health centre to do their medical test because there is no electricity to operate the medical equipment in the medical centre.
Rahmanullah says, “The people that go to the public health centres are very poor and when they were referred to private service providers, they were not able to afford the fees and this forced them to go back home without being treated.”
The district is not connected to the electricity grid and the health centre did not have the financial means to generate electricity through solar or a generator. Rahmanullah reported & discussed the problem with his community and the civil society organizations and they collectively shared the issue with the Nangarhar Directorate of Health, the Provincial Governor’s Office and the ADA Organization that has the contract to operate the health centre.
After months of back and forth and continued advocacy, the health centre now has electricity. A solar system has been installed with supporting batteries to produce the necessary electricity. Now medical tests are conducted in the health centre itself and visitors are not referred to private service providers. Rahmanullah added, “The public are very happy now that they do not have to go to private service providers for medical tests.”
Integrity Watch supports local partners in Nangarhar and other provinces to mobilize communities and train volunteers to monitor public services including health facilities since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Integrity Watch facilitates monitoring of 187 in 5 provinces (Herat, Nangarhar, Balkh, Kapisa and Kabul) directly and 60 health facilities (Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman) through partners.