Helping Patients in Afghanistan Manage Their Diabetes #HelptheHelpers



Nearly 40 percent of the Afghan population lacks access to basic health services, causing many to suffer from serious, yet preventable, diseases. Afghanistan’s poor health outcomes are greatly influenced by the more than one million people who face severe food insecurity and malnourishment, in addition to inadequate health resources.

Afghanistan’s lack of resources and education for sanitation, prevention of illness and healthy eating habits contributes to the poor health outcomes many young children face, every day.

Currently, diabetes is a rising issue with over eight percent of the country’s population suffering from the disease. Characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar that can lead to serious health complications, diabetes calls for efforts that not only improve access to critical diagnostic services and essential medicines, but also raise awareness about the disease itself.

The Helpers

One organization dedicated to building healthy communities is Alliance for Medical Outreach & Relief (AMOR). Since 2008, AMOR has supported five clinics and one hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. By targeting underserved communities and tailoring programs to the unique culture and needs of the population, AMOR’s goal is to reach impoverished people with life-saving health care and education.

Dr. Ghulam Farooq, pictured here with staff, is the medical director at AMOR’s Afshar Hospital and largely responsible for the successful delivery of essential medicines needed to treat patients.

Afshar Hospital, a facility aimed at increasing access to healthcare for vulnerable populations in the outskirts of southwest Kabul, assists AMOR in achieving its vision to provide quality healthcare. Each year, Afshar serves nearly 43,000 patients and facilitates 45,000 patient visits for services including: child immunization, obstetric fistula repair, x-rays, hypertension diagnosis and management, diabetes screening and management, childhood pneumonia/acute respiratory infection screening and treatment, emergency obstetric and newborn care, in addition to birthing and delivery.

Helping the Helpers

Direct Relief is committed to supporting AMOR’S Afshar Hospital efforts to promote healthy families and thriving communities.

A recent donation from Direct Relief arrived at Afshar Hospital in December 2016, delivering medical supplies that included: saline and dextrose IV fluids, antibiotics, syringe needles, gauze bandages, and other key products.

The shipment was sent from Direct Relief’s Goleta warehouse, traveling over the Khyber Pass and through the Torkham border before arriving in Afghanistan. It took over three months for this delivery to arrive at Afshar Hospital due to changes in Afghanistan’s government and importation rules.

These items arrived in time to care for a young patient in need of treatment for a previously undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Mahdi, 22, was rushed to urgent care in a drowsy, dehydrated state that was later identified as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).

Low blood sugar, low potassium and swelling in the brain were all symptoms Mahdi experienced upon arriving at Afshar Hospital. Saline and dextrose IV fluids from Direct Relief were used to rehydrate this young patient and ultimately, cure his DKA. After three days of specialized treatment, the young patient not only received vital health care but also, critical health education regarding diabetes control and management.

Mahdi, 22, traveled over 250 miles to reach Kabul where he would receive critical care. After being admitted to Afshar Hospital, Mahdi was treated for Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and later discharged with crucial health knowledge regarding diabetes management. Seven days after Mahdi’s hospital visit, follow-up care concluded the patient’s diabetes was completely under control.

Since July, Direct Relief has sent four shipments to AMOR’s Afshar Hospital, delivering more than 14,000 lbs. of essential medicines with a value of nearly $1 million. In addition to the life-saving work of AMOR, Direct Relief also supports the work of Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), another organization that represents a vast network of healthcare providers serving those in need.

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