HERAT CITY, Herat Province – A little girl rests on her hospital bed with several tubes attached to her body, one of which is connected to a dialysis machine next to the bed. On the other side of the room, an old man is undergoing hemodialysis connected to a second dialysis machine. The only sound breaking the silence comes from the air conditioner.
Mohammad Reza, 50, is waiting for his daughter’s hemodialysis to finish so she could transfer to another ward of Loqman Hakim Hospital. His daughter was diagnosed with kidney disease three years ago. “I took her to Iran and Pakistan several times, but the treatment was expensive and not successful,” says Reza. “I don’t need to travel outside the country anymore because this hospital provides very good services at a reasonable price. I hope my daughter continues to be treated here.”
Reza is hopeful that his daughter will be treated since she is at the hospital that performed the first kidney transplant in Afghanistan. “For the first time in Afghanistan, we successfully conducted a kidney transplant in Loqman Hakim Hospital in April 2016,” says the director, Dr. Farid Ahmad Ejaz, referring to the operation in which a 38-year-old mother donated one of her kidneys to her 13-year-old son.
Loqman Hakim Hospital is a private hospital located in Baagh-e-Azadi in Herat city. It started providing medical services in 2009 with 10 beds and 35 employees but has since expanded to 100 beds and 200 employees. It offers round-the-clock medical care in several areas, such as general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, and para-clinical services.
The kidney transplant was performed by Afghan doctors under the supervision of Iranian colleagues. It is the successful outcome of a series of medical tours and trainings in Iran for over 50 doctors from Loqman Hakim Hospital in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, renal operations, and transplants.
Nurses too have been trained to operate the dialysis machines at the hospital. Farid Ahmad, 24, is one such nurse and has worked at the hospital for three years. “We conduct hemodialysis for eight to 10 patients in the hospital every day,” he says. “The dialysis ward of the hospital has improved significantly.”