According to Saeedullah, a resident of Sharan, people had insufficient access to basic health services in the provincial capital, let alone in remote areas of the province.
He said there is no ophthalmologist, otolaryngologist or psychologist in the province. As a consequence, people suffering from such ailments have to visit doctors in other provinces.
“There is only one lady doctor. The rest are nurses. When someone falls sick, we are forced to take him or her to Pakistan, or other provinces for treatment. It is a major problem for us,” he remarked.
Similarly, Roohullah, an inhabitant of Barmal district, also grumbled they were faced with multiple health problems.
“Here is an ordinary clinic, which remains crowded most of the time. Barmal borders Pakistan and people take their patients to Pakistan for proper treatment.”
Cross-border travel was easy until recently, but now Pakistan guards do not allow travelers to cross into the neighbouring country.
His mother recently fell ill, recalled Roohullah, who tried to take her to Pakistan but Pakistani forces did not allow him. “If we have better hospitals and clinics in our own country, we would not need to travel to Pakistan.”
Dr. Hazer Gul Haqyar, a member of the health council of Khairkot district, said the strength of medics and health facilities were not proportionate to the size of Paktika’s population.
He said patients from Paktia and Ghazni province were also referred to the Paktika Civil Hospital. Doctors could not examine them properly, the man argued. Other residents of the province hold similar views.
Public Health Director Dr. Wali Gul Kharotai acknowledged problems in delivery of health services. A shortage of lady doctors, the absence of a military hospital and a surge in population are the main problems.
Kharotai said whenever an incident happened doctors could not examine ordinary patients. His department has shared the issue with the Ministry of Public Health, which has promised resolving it at the earliest possible.
Currently, 47 big and small health clinics are operational across the province. However, residents say the facilities are not enough to address their problems.