HAZRAT SULTAN DISTRICT, Samangan Province – On a cold, early morning, Mirza Murad, 60, walks toward the Hazrat Sultan Comprehensive Health Center (CHC), gripping a cane in his trembling hand. He has come to the health center to see a doctor. Murad is a laborer and earns a living working for others on their farmland. The hardships of labor and years of suffering from stomach issues have made him a very thin man.
Murad routinely visits the health center for check-ups and medicine, located just 5 kilometers from Gargari village where he lives. It is a short distance compared to the 24 kilometers he had to travel to Aybak, the provincial capital of Samangan, to seek medical care. The shortened journey allows him to visit the health center more frequently. “Everyone from our village comes here for treatment and the [health center] personnel treats us nicely,” Murad says. “The health center is helpful as it treats our problems.”
The CHC is located in the remote district of Hazrat Sultan in Samangan province in northern Afghanistan. It was established more than 40 years ago as a health outpost but was converted to a health center in 2017. It now has several units offering services such as outpatient, midwifery, vaccination, laboratory, nutrition, and mental health treatment. It also has a pharmacy and an ambulance.
Although it is a cold and rainy day, many people have come to the health center for check-ups and vaccinations. Zarghoona, 33, has traveled 13 kilometers from Kujar village to have her one-year-old vaccinated. “The doctors gave us medicine and vaccinated my child,” says the mother of six. “I am happy with the health center services.”