(Part of my guide for freewheeling expats.)
You will get sick here. Yes, you will. Even if you spent 2 years in a village in rural Namibia as a Peace Corps volunteer. Even if you ran an NGO in a Mumbai slum. Even if you worked in a clinic in Indonesia after the Asian tsunami. Even if you drink only bottled water and eat only MREs. You will still get sick in Afghanistan. Everyone does. Illness is the great equalizer among the expats. It strikes us all eventually, from the lowliest volunteer to the most pampered political officer. Disgustingly virulent Giardia and cruelly strong Helicobacter pylori (H Pylori) are the most common culprits when it comes to symptoms such as:
– Burping a sulfur smell uncontrollably
– Swelling up like a balloon full of acid
– Farting noxiously, near continuously and uncontrollably
– Shitting like a broken faucet
– Shitting blood
– Not being able to shit at all
– Not being able to eat
– Vomiting more bile than you thought your body could ever produce or hold
– Feeling like an alien fetus is tearing through your guts/throat
I think you get the idea. So, here’s my list of medical facilities that treat both expats and Afghans.
GP and pharmacy. Open Sat-Thurs 8:30-4:30.
German Clinic and Diagnostic Center
GP, lab and pharmacy. Open Sun-Thurs 9:00-12:00/2:00-5:00 Saturday: 11:00-5:00
Cure International Hospital
Urgent care, X-ray, lab, ultrasound, pathology, endoscopy, ob-gyn, pediatric, general practice, orthopedics, plastic surgery. 120 bed facility.
IRAF-MED Dental Clinic
Iranian dental clinic located near Kardan University. The best civilian dental facility in Kabul. Not fancy, but definitely clean, with competent staff. Routine and emergency dental care as well as dental surgery performed on-site. Very few procedures will run you more than $100 USD. Patients pay in cash. I had wisdom teeth out at this clinic and was fine afterward. Text Dr. Afruz Beida Peima with your symptoms and desired appointment date/time and she’ll make the appointment for you: 0700188867.
So stop eating in those shitty restaurants on the road to Jalalabad! ………
Your list is funny and so true. Even I — as someone who has spent his entire life in that hell hole, get sick in Kabul. And the real problem is finding good doctors who (along with good politicians) are of a very scarce breed in that town.
But usually if you survive the first week, you’ll get bullet-proofed. That’s from my experience.
I managed to get to 3 months before bacteria and parasites got to me. And whoa, I never eat anywhere on Jalalabad Road. That would be courting intestinal disaster within minutes.
Thank you! This made me laugh! I lived in Pul-e-Khumri in 2003 and ate too many delicious shaft-alu and zard-alu with disastrous effect… To be honest it was the intestinal worm exodus later in the year that really freaked me. Really enjoyed other parts of your blog too! Kabul was f***ed up in the expat department in 2003 but it sounds like it’s gotten worse…Security was way better and there were no major attacks at all – but the general paranoia sounds a bit the same.