In the presence of Werner Hans Lauk, Germany's ambassador to Afghanistan, the foundation stone was laid today (30 May) for a new hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif to serve Balkh Province. The construction costs in the order of 10.5 million euro are being funded by the Federal Foreign Office. A further sum of some 1 million euro is being provided by the Swedish Government.
The new hospital will have 360 beds as well as other facilities, such as central operation units, a casualty ward and an intensive care ward that to date have been inadequate or non-existent. It is planned to complete the construction work for the new hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif in spring 2011.
At today's ceremony Ambassador Lauk emphasized the importance of the new hospital. “It will provide medical services to the 350,000 inhabitants of Mazar-e-Sharif as well as Balkh Province's population of 7 million.” It will make a real and visible difference, he noted, to many people's lives.
In 2006 the hospital serving Balkh Province was destroyed in a fire. Since then a temporary container hospital funded by Germany has provided basic medical services. The earth-moving operations required during the first phase of the construction work will be carried out not by mechanical excavators but by manual labour, thus providing many Afghans with a livelihood.