Portraits from a Hospital – Kandahar 2009 and 2013

In 2009 I spent 2 weeks covering the situation in Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. I returned back to cover the situation in 2013, four years later. The capacity of the hospital was still full and occupied. The war wounded coming in was similar to 2009 but the increase of issues affecting children was on the rise especially Tuberculosis Meningitis.

  • Jake Simkin reporting Sept 2013
  • For ICRC

ICRC nurse tends to a newborn

"I have to thank Allah that today I live for I could of been dead" Rozim Mohamed age 12 spoke after his operation where both his legs were amputated from a land mine injury

Waiting in Line, Women await free medical service at Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar

Father and child wait in line.

A child barely survives a mortar attack in Marjan, Helmand. It takes almost 6 hours to travel from Marjan to Kandahar.

Peace, Boy picked up a pieces of a US cluster bomb that blew apart his fingers, Kandahar

Rozim Mohamed tries riding a handmade disabled bicycle made in Kandahar. He readjustment his taken quickly to learning a new way of moving.

A child lays motionless from malnutrition. Many parent were unable to travel the distance from Helmand to Kandahar due to insecurity.

Descent into Darkness. A child dies from not being treated fast enough. It can take six to more hours to flee from Helmand to Kandahar Hospital.

The child lays lifeless from injury from a mortar wound.

Shot through the Heart. Boy recovering from a mortar blast, Kandahar

A mother worried looks over her daughter affected by Tuberclosis Meningitis. Her daughter has been in hospital for a week now without recovery. TBM or know as Tuberclosis Meningitis is a major epidemic to be sweeping southern Afghanistan mainly affecting children below the age of four. It is a difficult diagnoses to cure and requires constant use of medicine to cure in which most Afghan families cannot afford.

A baby cries out from the child incubator.

The child was born with infectious blood from her mother who had tuberclosis. The child required donated blood to help stablise and survive

This young child is suffering from Measles and Pneumonia. Many children in the southern province have a lack of access to vaccinations and other immunizations. Also due to the stigmata that these injections are something from the west, many families refuse to treat their children.

A child recovers from malnutrition.

ICRC staff member Patricia gives an assessment on an infant in the maternity ward

The child struggles to breathe suffering from extreme malnutrition having been brought in after many months of suffering. Many families live in poverty and fear that hospitalization is money they cannot afford.

Struggling for life, Sarah is one of the many infants suffering malnutrition. 86 children mostly newborns lie on 55 beds in the paediatrics ward all suffering the same case. The other beds were taken up by a large number of Polio and TBM, the new mutant virus Tuberculosis Meningitis. Though road access to Kandahar has improved, lack of education amongst mothers to identify illness, poverty and underdeveloped young mothers are the causes of high infant mortality. Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar 2013 for the ICRC.

Many mothers are unable to breast feed children due to poor health standards in southern Afghanistan. Infant malnutrition in Afghanistan is one of the highest problems in the world.

Abdul Haidery, 7 years old, had been in the crossfire of a battle having sustained shrapnel of a bullet into the back of his head rending him unconcious. Mirwais Hospital staff were able to remove the bullet and the boy is recovering in the ICU ward. It is unsure of how much the boy has sustained brain damage till he awakens from his coma. Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar, for the ICRC

Rahmatullah looks at his father having recovered from a landmine injury. His father feels fortunate his son had not sustained dismemberment or death

Burn victims from an IED (Improvised Explosives Device) attack lay motionless during the days, their thoughts constantly about the event. IED attacks are frequent, almost every day in Kandahar and the southern provinces of Afghanistan. Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar, Afghanistan. For the ICRC

Suliman lays recovering from being wounded by an IED attack. IEDs are a regular occurance in the south of Afghan with almost 12 victims daily to the Mirwais Hospital.