Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital Kabul funded by Pakistan as part of its contribution to reconstruction efforts is the second-largest hospital in Afghanistan. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan has donated an oxygen generating plant to facilitate the treatment of critically-ill patients in Afghanistan and assist the neighbouring country in its fight against the coronavirus.

The oxygen production plant at the Pakistan-funded Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in Kabul is a “gift by the government of Pakistan to cater to the needs of the Afghan patients”, according to the official statement.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, and Afghan Minister for Public Health, Ahmad Jawad Usmani, jointly inaugurated the plant at a ceremony attended by health professionals and other dignitaries.

Free of cost treatment

The hospital, where free of cost treatment is provided to the Afghan patients, is a “goodwill gesture” by the government of Pakistan.

The new oxygen plant will help doctors “treat COVID-19 patients effectively as the plant has the capacity of providing oxygen to more than 200 beds in addition to extra 50 oxygen balloons per hour and around 1200 balloons in 24 hours”.

Rebuilding efforts

Jinnah Hospital - second-largest hospital in Afghanistan - is a 200-bed, state-of-the-art medical facility in Kabul, was opened in 2019 as part of Pakistan’s contribution to reconstruction and development efforts in the war-ravaged neighbouring country.

“Pakistan has pledged $1billion assistance to Afghanistan” said Pakistani Ambassador Mansoor Khan. In the health sector, three hospitals have been completed at a cost of $72 million, including Jinnah Hospital at Kabul, Naeb Aminullah Hospital in Logar province and Nishtar Kidney Hospital in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, he said.

Health facility

The government is considering to transform Jinnah Hospital Kabul into a teaching hospital where “doctors trained in Pakistan could continue their post graduate training under the supervision of leading medical institutes of Pakistan” the ambassador informed. Pakistan government is also in close coordination with the Afghan government through ministry of health and ministry of foreign affairs to introduce new healthcare facilities and improve the capacity of the cancer centre at Jinnah Hospital.

Islamabad recently donated fifty thousand sets of personal protective equipment to Afghanistan to support the Afghan doctors and nurses on the frontlines. Pakistan has also introduced a new category of health visa to facilitate Afghan patients to receive visas on arrival at the overland border, Pakistan’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Mohammad Sadiq announced in September.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan led a high-powered delegation to Kabul on November 19 to built trust and improve ties as he pledged to “do everything possible” to help curb violence and push for peace. “The people and the government of Pakistan have only one concern” and that is “peace in Afghanistan”, PM Khan stated. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called Pakistani premier’s visit “historic” and said that it helped built the “foundation of trust” to bring the two countries closer.