PESHAWAR: Clashes along the Afghan border at Torkham have had a negative effect on medical tourism and the pharmaceutical sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as fewer Afghan patients are opting for treatment at hospitals in KP, choosing instead to go to India.

After the implementation of a new border management policy at Torkham, arrival of Afghan patients in Peshawar has decreased and as a result the city’s hospitals are making losses alongside the market for life-saving drugs.

“Before the Torkham clashes, we served up to 1,000 patients in the out-patient department on a daily basis. Half of the patients were Afghan nationals. But now we attend up to 400 patients, only 100 of whom are Afghans,” said Tariq Khan, director administration of the Rehman Medical Institute.

According to Dr Javed, emergency consultant of a private hospital, Afghan patients prefer treatment in Pakistan due to shared culture and language, but India has benefited from the Torkham border skirmishes since the issue surfaced.

“India is providing Afghan patients facilities such as an easier visa policy, boarding and an interpreter on arrival at the airport,” said Dr Javed.

Pakistan Chemist and Druggist Association vice chairman Naseeb Khan told Dawn that the sale of life-saving drugs in Peshawar had dropped by 50 to 60 per cent after the Torkham clashes.

Mr Khan, who runs a medical store outside the Khyber Teaching Hospital, said his monthly income had declined from Rs250,000 to Rs120,000.

Following the construction of a gate at the Torkham border crossing point and implementation of new border management policy, cross-border movement of Afghans had significantly reduced, border officials said.

Before the clashes, they said, around 6,000 to 7,000 Afghan nationals entered Pakistan at Torkham on a daily basis, but now only 300 to 400 people were able to enter the country on showing valid travel documents.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Punjab crisis
01 Dec, 2022

Punjab crisis

ADMINISTRATIVE chaos has ruled Punjab ever since the ouster of the PTI government in April, deepening the...
Quetta attack
01 Dec, 2022

Quetta attack

It would be foolishness of the highest order were the authorities to ignore the emerging threat.
World AIDS Day
01 Dec, 2022

World AIDS Day

AS countries mark World AIDS Day on Dec 1, a timely report from Unicef has renewed concerns about the severe...
A call for bloodshed
30 Nov, 2022

A call for bloodshed

The state has wasted precious time by not consolidating its success in pushing TTP out of its strongholds in the north.
Missing childhoods
30 Nov, 2022

Missing childhoods

THE fact is that despite some legal efforts to end the curse of child marriage taking place in Pakistan under the...
Unemployment concerns
30 Nov, 2022

Unemployment concerns

THE ILO finding that labour market recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan, as in many other...