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Kandahar Hospital Offers Free Treatment During Ramadan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A hospital run by an Afghan philanthropist is offering free treatment to the residents of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

The Mohmand Hospital intends to charge patients fees for seeing some doctors, but it is admitting the sick for free and providing them with free tests, medicines, and surgical procedures.

Dr. Mohammad Hussain Akrami, who heads the hospital, said they want to help the poor of Kandahar during the holy month of Ramadan.

Adult Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and having sex from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. The holiday is seen as a time for engaging in charity and Islamic teachings.

"All our services are completely free," Akrami said. "Only the doctors who come from outside charge their fees, but whatever we can offer our patients inside the hospital is free of charge."

Naimatullah, a farmer, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that the free treatment is a great service to the poor. "They tested the blood of my six-year-old daughter and then treated her. All this cost me nothing. This is very helpful," he said.

Another elderly man, who refused to give his name, was grateful for a surgical procedure doctors provided. "I am very happy after being treated and am very grateful for all their help."

During Ramadan last year, the Mohmand Hospital treated some 18, 0000 patients and provided 350 operations without charge.

Haji Mohmmad Siddiq, the owner of the hospital, is known for his charitable contributions in Kandahar. He runs a soup kitchen for the poor and has sponsored the university education of some needy students from the province in India.