Fulfilling their promise to support and assist the neighbouring country, pharmaceutical companies across Pakistan have begun supplying free medicines to Afghanistan.
On Saturday, two containers of medicines worth Rs25 million left from Karachi for Islamabad, Atif Iqbal, vice-chairperson of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association, told SAMAA Digital. "Next week, these medicines will be sent to Afghanistan."
He said that the country's target is to supply medicines costing Rs1 billion to the war-torn country in the second week of December. "Medicines and other pharmaceutical equipment are being sent to the capital from Peshawar, Lahore, Multan, and other big cities as well," Iqbal revealed.
He added that some international companies, too, are taking part in this initiative.
Ghulam Hashim Noorani of the Pakistan Chemists and Druggists Association said that along with medicines, 400 wheelchairs are being sent to the neighbouring country as well.
"We are purchasing some medicines from the local market and will dispatch it along with the consignment too," he told SAMAA Digital. "It’s the beginning and we hope that our industry would come forward and meet the expectations of our Afghan friends. They desperately need our help."
Some of the companies supplying medicines from Karachi include Hico, PharmEvo, ICI Pakistan, Bosch Pharma, SEARLE, and MaxiTech Pharma.
Afghanistan's healthcare on brink of collapse
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation warned of an impending health crisis in Afghanistan.
"The country's health-care system is on the brink of collapse as a lack of funding left thousands of health facilities struggling to buy medical supplies and pay their staff."
WHO pointed out that reduced donations to Afghanistan’s largest health project, Sehatmandi, have left health facilities without medicines, medical supplies, fuel, and salaries for medical workers.
Sehatmandi operates 2,309 medical facilities across Afghanistan through which over 30 million people have benefitted in 2020.
“Many of these facilities have now reduced operations or shut down, forcing health providers to make hard decisions on who to save and who to let die,” a statement by the WHO read, adding that only 17% of the facilities were fully functional.