KABUL - Over the past three months more than 2.4 million people have been treated for respiratory system disorders in health facilities throughout the country, officials said. Dr. Mohammad Yaqub Azimi, the head of the Health Information Management System (HIMS), counted air pollution and the environment as major factors contributing to the disease. He told Pajhwok Afghan News that last year, 10 million people were treated for respiratory diseases in Afghanistan.
In the capital alone, he said, more than 228,000 people suffered from respiratory diseases. Mohammad Zulmai, a resident of the Bagrami district, is one of those people. A persistent cough and sore throat eventually caused him to visit the hospital.
According to Dr. Hasseb Sarwari, the head of the Ear, Nose and Throat Ward at Maiwand hospital, about 200 people visit the hospital daily, most of them suffering from respiratory diseases.
He said that the incidence of respiratory diseases commonly increases in the winter. But in many places in Afghanistan, it increases during the summer months as well, due to air pollution and the dry, windy environment.
The wind and dust in Kabul is a major problem, he said. In addition to causing allergies and carrying pathogens that cause diarrhea, the dirty air can cause respiratory diseases as well.
He said sneezing and coughing, as well as a dry nose, sore throat and itchy eyes are all signs of respiratory system diseases.
He urged people to cover their noses with masks when leaving the home to prevent contracting respiratory infections.