Health – Quetta

Unlike refugee villages (former camps), there are no separate UNHCR supported health facilities for refugees in urban areas of Quetta. The only exception is an HIV prevention and support unit for refugee drug users.

Refugees can avail the services at all public sector health facilities and pay the standard fees for these services.

Interestingly, according to the data provided by the Department of Health, Afghans constitute 50% of the total case load in all hospitals in Quetta. It is thought that many Afghans living in Afghanistan visit Quetta for health treatments as the quality of the hospitals in Quetta are significantly better than hospitals in neighbouring regions of Afghanistan.

The following health facilities in Quetta provide health services to both host and refugee communities:

  • Bolan Medical Complex Hospital,
  • Sandeman Provincial Hospital,
  • Fatima Jinnah General & Chest Hospital,
  • Helpers Eye Hospital,
  • Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT) Eye Hospital,
  • CENAR cancer Hospital,
  • Mission Hospital Quetta,
  • Lady Dufferin Hospital

In addition to these hospitals, there are 8 basic health units (BHUs) on the outskirts of Quetta to which refugees also have equal access.

The social welfare department provides services for the rehabilitation of disabled people through artificial prosthetic limbs and care of children with special needs. Refugees can also avail these services without any discrimination.

In the private sector, the following hospitals are in Quetta:

  • Alkhidmat Hospital,
  • SAIBAN Family hospital,
  • Jam-e-Shafa Hospitals are charity hospitals which provide treatment either free or on payment of very minimal user charges.

In total there are more than 10 big private hospital which provide all services under one roof but refugees have to pay accordingly. UNHCR does support medical assistance in these hospitals for a few extremely vulnerable individuals identified within the refugee community.

UNHCR conducts a number of health projects in Quetta, including:

  1. Since 2009, the prevention of HIV among drug users in Quetta,
  2. Establishment of 40 bed intensive care unit in Fatima Jinnah General & Chest Hospital,
  3. Construction of a fully equipped labour room in BHU Pashtoon Bagh,
  4. Construction of a fully equipped labour room in BHU Killi Kechi Baig,
  5. Construction of a fully equipped labour room in BHU Killi Samungli,

Regarding health services, generally Afghans (refugees and unregistered migrants alike) have no issue in accessing any public or private sector health facility in Quetta. However, they have to pay the standard fees for all services, which are set centrally by the department of health. The Social Welfare Department do support poor and needy Pakistani patients using Zakat funds (a religious tax in Pakistan), for which refugees are not eligible.

Health facilities are available in almost all localities and are accessible by public transport which is utilised equally by the host and refugee communities.

Not all hospital provide the same quality of services and there are thematic gaps in the service provision of certain hospitals. A number of health projects have been completed within the RAHA programme. The following list of projects has been highlighted by the local community and provincial administration as important, but funding for the projects has not yet been confirmed:

  1. Strengthening of nephrology (kidney) centre in all tertiary hospitals,
  2. Strengthening of cold storage chain at provincial EPI warehouse,
  3. Renovation and rehabilitation of 3 BHUs on the outskirts of Quetta,
  4. Strengthening of gynaecological and observation unit in all tertiary hospitals,
  5. Provision of equipment to CENAR Cancer hospital,
  6. Strengthening of paediatric unit in all tertiary hospitals,
  7. Awareness of general public regarding utilisation of existing health services.