Dangerous Medicine: Inside An Afghan Hospital

  • Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar is the only public hospital serving five southern provinces in Afghanistan. In the children's intensive care unit, toddlers sleep two or three to a bed.
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    Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar is the only public hospital serving five southern provinces in Afghanistan. In the children's intensive care unit, toddlers sleep two or three to a bed.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR/NPR
  • The hospital is in the middle of a war zone in a country where rates of infant and maternal mortality are among the highest in the world. Here, a child sleeps in his mother's arms in the intensive care unit.
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    The hospital is in the middle of a war zone in a country where rates of infant and maternal mortality are among the highest in the world. Here, a child sleeps in his mother's arms in the intensive care unit.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • The hospital cares for a high volume of trauma cases. Patients travel from Zabul, Uruzgan, Helmand, Kandahar and Paktika provinces. Here, patients in the men's ward.
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    The hospital cares for a high volume of trauma cases. Patients travel from Zabul, Uruzgan, Helmand, Kandahar and Paktika provinces. Here, patients in the men's ward.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Despite worsening security, the hospital continues to strive to provide better care. The International Committee of the Red Cross conducts training and assists the local staff. Here, nurse Kristina Alho of Jyvaskyla, Finland, gets an underweight baby ready to see her mother.
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    Despite worsening security, the hospital continues to strive to provide better care. The International Committee of the Red Cross conducts training and assists the local staff. Here, nurse Kristina Alho of Jyvaskyla, Finland, gets an underweight baby ready to see her mother.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • A mother looks despondently at her premature baby girl, held by Alho, in the women's intensive care unit. The mother tried to breastfeed the baby, but had no milk.
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    A mother looks despondently at her premature baby girl, held by Alho, in the women's intensive care unit. The mother tried to breastfeed the baby, but had no milk.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Mohammad Nassim, 35, lies bruised and groaning in a bed at Mirwais Hospital. He and another man were kidnapped by the Taliban from a municipal construction site where they were working. They said they were blindfolded and beaten for four days before being released to warn others against working with the government.
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    Mohammad Nassim, 35, lies bruised and groaning in a bed at Mirwais Hospital. He and another man were kidnapped by the Taliban from a municipal construction site where they were working. They said they were blindfolded and beaten for four days before being released to warn others against working with the government.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • A man is wheeled into the emergency room. The hospital has six departments: surgery, infectious diseases, pediatrics, ophthalmology, obstetrics/gynecology and emergency/intensive care.
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    A man is wheeled into the emergency room. The hospital has six departments: surgery, infectious diseases, pediatrics, ophthalmology, obstetrics/gynecology and emergency/intensive care.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Lal Agha dabs disinfectant cream on his brother Fida Mohammad's burns. Mohammad, 16, suffered electrical burns six days earlier at his home in the city of Kandahar. Families often stay with and care for their relatives who are in the hospital.
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    Lal Agha dabs disinfectant cream on his brother Fida Mohammad's burns. Mohammad, 16, suffered electrical burns six days earlier at his home in the city of Kandahar. Families often stay with and care for their relatives who are in the hospital.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Shakofa, 2, recovers from burns to her chest and feet after being scalded by hot tea. Sixty-seven percent of patients come to Mirwais for emergencies, and about 50 percent of all clients are trauma patients.
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    Shakofa, 2, recovers from burns to her chest and feet after being scalded by hot tea. Sixty-seven percent of patients come to Mirwais for emergencies, and about 50 percent of all clients are trauma patients.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Bitullah, 8, of Uruzgan province, was injured when a housing compound wall fell on his leg. By the time he was able to get medical treatment, his leg had to be amputated.
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    Bitullah, 8, of Uruzgan province, was injured when a housing compound wall fell on his leg. By the time he was able to get medical treatment, his leg had to be amputated.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • Imam Gul (right), 25, stands next to the body of Hamidullah, 22, in the hospital morgue while the body is prepared for burial. The previous day, Hamidullah and another man were in an unarmored truck carrying material to a checkpoint in Zabul province when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The bodies of the two men were later transported to their home provinces in the north for burial.
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    Imam Gul (right), 25, stands next to the body of Hamidullah, 22, in the hospital morgue while the body is prepared for burial. The previous day, Hamidullah and another man were in an unarmored truck carrying material to a checkpoint in Zabul province when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The bodies of the two men were later transported to their home provinces in the north for burial.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the few humanitarian relief agencies with foreign staff living and working in Kandahar, and they are vital to Mirwais Hospital. As security has deteriorated, many international aid groups have pulled their staff from the area, stunting development in a region where it is badly needed.
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    The International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the few humanitarian relief agencies with foreign staff living and working in Kandahar, and they are vital to Mirwais Hospital. As security has deteriorated, many international aid groups have pulled their staff from the area, stunting development in a region where it is badly needed.
    All photos by Holly Pickett for NPR; Slideshow produced by Coburn Dukehart/NPR

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